retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post this morning reports on a new poll from the Pew Research Center concluding that “in several countries around the world, large majorities of people believe it is most likely that robots will be doing much of the work done by humans within 50 years.”

Greece sits atop the list - 91 percent of survey respondents there think that robots and computers “definitely” or “likely” will do much of the work done by people. In the US, the number is lower but still a majority - 65 percent.

“The effects of this technological leap are not viewed optimistically by most,” the Post notes, and “people largely say they think humans will struggle to find meaningful work and inequality will rise, the research found.”

The story says that “respondents were also asked about how automation would affect their countries. In each case, a large majority said it would make it difficult for ordinary people to find jobs, while a majority in most countries said jobs lost to automation would not be replaced by “new, better paying jobs.”

“There were only three countries in which a majority thought automation would make the countries' economies more efficient — Japan (74 percent), Poland (52 percent) and Hungary (52 percent). In every country surveyed, a significant majority believed automation would worsen the existing inequality between the rich and the poor.”
KC's View:
I don’t think you can stop the robot revolution, but we certainly need to be conscious of the cultural and economic implications … and develop public policy approaches that embrace the opportunities, not deny them.