(Bloomberg View) -- There's lots of fretting these days that automation will displace huge numbers of workers. It makes sense to be worried. Although adoption of machines in the past didn’t make human labor obsolete, there’s no guarantee that future technology will work the same. Maybe this is an issue in the long-term, but for now at least automation probably isn’t taking away many jobs.
To hear me confidently declare that may come as a surprise to some, given the steady flow of articles sounding the alarm about a new paper by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo. Entitled “Robots and Jobs: Evidence from US Labor Markets,” the paper finds evidence that robots are already costing American jobs. Given that automation-induced job loss is often casually called the “rise of the machines,” it’s no surprise that Acemoglu and Restrepo’s study seems to confirm people’s worst fears.
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