New technology comes with both positives and negatives. On the plus side, it makes our world a more exciting place. It improves our lives and allows businesses to get more done in less time. The negative? New technology inevitably eliminates jobs. The Economist newspaper recently took a look at the double-edged sword of technology.
As the Economist story says, new technology has always led to a loss of jobs. This is something that’s been true since the dawn of time. The Economist’s example? A century ago, one out of three U.S. workers toiled on a farm. Today? Less than 2 percent of U.S. workers do any work on a farm.
This hasn’t been a negative, though. New technology has allowed farms to produce even more food today with far less workers. And all those workers who once worked on farms? They found other jobs which were produced thanks to technology. That’s the way we all want it to work: Technology eliminates some jobs but creates new ones at the same time.
Finding those different jobs is the key, obviously. It’s one thing for technology to eliminate jobs. This is OK if it provides enough alternative jobs at the same time. The problem today is that many people worry that tech is only eliminating jobs, not generating new ones. This, the Economist argues, is where governments step in. It’s up to the government to invest in continuing-education programs that will foster the creativity that today’s workers need as a growing number of lower-skilled positions disappear. If the education system doesn’t change to meet the needs of today’s workers? The country — and the entire world — may just be in serious trouble.