‘The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.’ You’ll find Warren Bennis’s dictum among the comments on many recent articles about the joblessness of the economic recovery. But dogs aren’t being held responsible for the downsizing and deskilling of the workforce; computers are.
Over the past decade, machines have mastered all manner of tasks previously assumed to be reserved exclusively for humans. According to one influential analysis, there is a 6 per cent chance that computers will force many in my line of work to seek new employment over the next two decades.