Automation is one aspect of the technological singularity that excites some and frightens most. The idea of not having to strive through physical labor is one that’s most appealing. The consequence that obviously comes to mind first is the dwindling job market. How can it be as prosperous in the future as it is now if the jobs today are replaced by machines? Someone has to build and service those machines though. How is it that one man that can do the work of ten with the aid of technology still have a forty hour work week?
Any market that is affected by growth does not remain stagnant. The success of business goes hand and hand with market growth. So when automated assembly lines help drop cost of expenses for an automobile manufacturer, you’re going to see that business recycling its profit into certain assets. This means that such a company starts to branch out and start spending more on market research, product research, etc. A company will reallocate its workforce to benefit itself the most.
Automation is everywhere on a micro scale. The fact the an employee has tools like spell check, printer/fax machines, and the internet at their fingertips makes for an overall elevation of responsibility for each employee. There are a lot more things to be done in a world like this. Keynes believed that our actual workforce would surpass our workforce needed, thus making the burden on man as a whole a lot easier. I guess he hadn’t counted on these kinds of technology not being released to the public as fast as they could be. Then again, his estimation was dated for 2030 so maybe we’ll see trends begin to move in this direction. As of right now, automation is not much of a threat to most jobs. As far as we know, that threshold of change could be right around the corner.