Technology continues to progress rapidly. In fact, the past decade has seen the fastest productivity growth since the 1960s, but median wages and employment have both stagnated (and in many cases fallen), leaving millions of people worse off than before. This presents a paradox: if technology and productivity are improving so much why are millions struggling to make ends meet?
Technological progress does not automatically benefit everyone. Machines are doing more and more tasks that once only humans could do. There will be increasing disruption in the economy as businesses restructure, and employment, wages, and incomes re-align to the new machine age reality.
Speaking on NPR President Obama said:
“What is true is that globalization and technology are a mixed bag. On the one hand, they create a situation in which consumer goods are cheap and they create a situation in which we can have access to goods and services that we would never have had before. On the other hand, it does create a situation in which a lot of the jobs that are created are at the very top, high-skilled, you know, creative work that can’t be replicated, or at the bottom, low-skilled jobs. What we don’t have are those jobs in the middle.”
Which sectors do you think will be most affected in the next 10 years? Which professions are relatively immune for the time being? If you were advising the 18 year old you which profession or skill would you pursue?