Man vs. Machine

This January 17 article from the Wall Street Journal is a fascinating one.  We highly suggest you read it here, as well as the discussion in the comments section which contains its own insights.

The article is titled Man vs. Machine, a Jobless Recovery.  As the title suggests, it discusses a fear held by many that machines are “stealing” jobs from human beings.

Indeed, we do seem to be in a heavy transition period that couldn’t come at a worse time.  The housing market and the proposed lack of hiring have been a tough duo to bear.  During the Recession, companies cut back and then realized they could do more with less.  The advancement of technology continues to make it possible for companies to be more productive with less actual employees.

While we might lament the mechanization of the farm and the automation of the factory for taking jobs away from workers, we shouldn’t consider them an enemy. These machines are making us more productive and efficient, and we can’t argue against productivity and efficiency.  The machines free laborers up to do other things… the question is, what?

And that question is the biggest problem.  Currently, there’s plenty to be done – just look at the transportation systems, environmental problems, incurable diseases and everything else that could be drastically improved upon in the United States and elsewhere.  We need people to build businesses around filling those needs.

That doesn’t address the problem of machines being able to do the jobs that used to require human workers.  We still need people to run the machines and technology.  Our educators should be teaching students not only how to work with existing technology, but how to be nimble in acquiring new knowledge as technology rapidly improves and changes.

We also need innovators.  People who invent big things we haven’t even conceived of, that make our lives better in ways we didn’t know possible.  We need people who see the opportunities in the challenges we’re facing.

Machines that make us more efficient aren’t the enemy, but floundering, disorganization, and failure to respond and adapt to our new reality are.

Check out the article here, and let us know what you think.

About TRC Staffing Services, Inc.

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