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Aurialie Jublin

Why the Robots Might Not Take Our Jobs After All: They Lack Common Sense - - 0 views

  • “Many of the middle-skill jobs that persist in the future will combine routine technical tasks with the set of non-routine tasks in which workers hold comparative advantage — interpersonal interaction, flexibility, adaptability and problem-solving,” Mr. Autor writes. He specifically mentions medical support jobs, building trades and some clerical jobs that require decision-making rather than typing and filing.In the paper, Mr. Autor presents data showing that these middle-skill jobs have indeed been under pressure over the last few decades, with much stronger growth in the number of both very basic low-paying jobs and the most advanced jobs for skilled professionals. It is a hollowing-out of the American work force, in effect, with fewer jobs for technicians and factory workers and the middle-class wages that come with them.
  • “I expect that a significant stratum of middle-skill, non-college jobs combining specific vocational skills with foundational middle skills — literacy, numeracy, adaptability, problem-solving and common sense — will persist in the coming decades.” He argues that it is hard to blame computerization for jobs that have disappeared over the last decade in that much of the shift happened after capital investment in information technology fell following the collapse of the dot-com bubble.
    "So what does that mean for workers over the years and decades ahead? Mr. Autor says that this weakness leaves plenty of opportunities for humans to serve as intermediaries of sorts between increasingly intelligent computers that nonetheless lack that common sense. He invokes the idea of "Polanyi's Paradox," named for the Hungarian thinker Michael Polanyi, who observed that "we know more than we can tell," meaning humans can do immensely complicated things like drive a car or tell one species of bird from another without fully understanding the technical details. "Following Polanyi's observation," Mr. Autor writes, "the tasks that have proved most vexing to automate are those demanding flexibility, judgment, and common sense - skills that we understand only tacitly.""
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