What solutions to the problem have been proposed in the past?
Because of the impending future of automation and artificial intelligence taking over jobs, many discussions have begun about the implications of and the solutions to the future where all jobs will be operated by automated machinery. A simple solution, as proposed in the 17th century, is to just ban the application of automation technologies and protect the workers being replaced (Bix, 2002, 81). Unfortunately, the rapid growth of the population and increased demand for consumerism meant that machines were not just a nicety, but instead a necessity in order for businesses to keep up with demand. A more tenable solution, proposed by the Obama administration, is to invest in job retraining and social safety nets in order to provide for those displaced and replaced by machines. The administration has reserved judgement on promoting a universal basic income, preferring instead programs with clear defined goals and benefits, such as job search assistance, job training (Galeon, 2016, n.p).
Bix, A. S. (2002). Inventing ourselves out of jobs?: Americas debate over technological unemployment, 1929-1981. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
The constant improvement of technology means that a future where jobs are automated away is a certainty and attempts to stop such an event from occurring is futile. This impending future where there will be large amounts of the population unemployed will result in an economic depression greater than that of the Great Depression and eventually lead to war should no action be taken. The focus of labor in the future needs to shift to training and shifting workers towards areas of employment where machines cannot perform. Much more resources are needed in order to assist humans in keeping pace with automation before it reaches a point where too many people are unemployed and no longer able to provide for themselves.
Galeon, D. (2017, January 17). White House Releases a Solution to Automation-Caused Job Loss. Retrieved from https://futurism.com/white-house-releases-a-solution-to-automation-caused-job-loss
The recently released report from the Obama details the concerns and issues with the upcoming automation wave and potential solutions. The report proposes allocating resources to running government programs to help workers that have been replaced with training into different industries. The report focuses on reeducation programs and job search assistance programs. The Obama administration believes that government safety nets would be more beneficial than a universal basic income due to the focus on solving employment issues rather than dealing with unemployment issues.