Thanks to automation, human beings have been able to achieve better standards of living and solve some of the challenges that have bedeviled the human race for ages. However, as some have pointed out in the past, automation will continue leading to massive job loss (Wajcman, 2017). This is more so the case given that technology has ushered in some capabilities that allow for more efficiency and profitability.
There are those who feel that tech will replace professionals as we know them. As a matter of fact, as Wajcman (2017) points out, the authors of The Future of the Professions are convinced that even those professions deemed immune in the past are not that safe after all. In the words of Wajcman (2017), the said authors are of the opinion that “in the internet society, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants or lawyers to work in the way they did in the twentieth century” (p. 122).
The all-important question on this front remains: how can we secure the interests of workers while at the same time ensuring that we reap the benefits of automation? Some have suggested universal basic income. Wajcman scoffs at this suggestion pointing out that it is impractical. It is, however, important to note that technologies cannot replace all human qualities. This is more so the case given that some of these qualities happen to be inherently unique. Good examples of the said qualities or capabilities include creativity and ideation. A machine would, for instance, not be able to engage in creative writing. Towards this end, Wajcman (2017) points out that some authors have suggested that “we race with machines, instead of racing against them” (p. 124). This, according to the author, would allow human beings to continue deploying the inherently human capabilities such as ideation and creativity.
Wajcman, J. (2017). Automation: is it really different this time? The British Journal of Sociology, 68(1), 119-127
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