Automation, jobs, and IQ

We all know that automation takes jobs. Historically, this has produced more new jobs than were made obsolete; however, going forward, that may no longer be the case. Oxford University (2013) predicts that in the US, 47% of jobs are at risk due to computerization, and it’s hard to imagine that we’ll find productive employment for those displaced adults in that time.

The National Academies of Science says that “The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market.” But that’s either disingenuous or shallow-minded. The reality, as Dr. Jordan Peterson points out in the video below, is that automation is eating the job market from the bottom up, taking jobs that require the lowest IQs:

If someone with a lower IQ loses their job to automation, there’s not enough education or job retraining in the world to make them capable of a higher-IQ job – it’s a matter of intellectual capacity, not knowledge. I’m not saying they couldn’t eventually learn the skills, but rather that they wouldn’t be able to compete with people who have the same skills and a higher IQ. If you’ve got someone intellectually suited to be a warehouse worker, you may be able to train him to code (eventually), but there’s no way he could hold his own against others more intellectually capable of working in the field. You’re setting him up to fail, and ultimately wasting everyone’s time and money in the process.

As Dr. Peterson notes, the way this has played out so far is with an epic wave of opioid addiction, both legal and illegal, among those who have been displaced. Hopefully people will figure out better options as automation continues to consume more and more jobs.

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