I've written about this trend quite a few times before:
- If You Teach a Robot to Fish
- The Technological Roots of Income Inequality
- The Internet Has Killed Prosperity as We Know It
- The Driverless Economy
- Why the Super-Rich Get Richer
The Tiger Stone Paving Machine, sometimes called the road-printer, can lay down a lovely, herringboned brick road or walkway at 4 to 5 times the speed of a crew of skilled bricklayers. The machine is available in 13, 16, and 20-ft widths and costs from $81,485 to $108,655. And best of all (for buyers), it requires no skilled bricklayers. Oh sure, you still need human attendants to feed bricks into the "pusher slot." But they obviously don't have to be highly skilled artisans.
So this might seem like a pretty small incursion of technology into the lives of a few bricklayers (and who cares about bricklayers, right? I mean, we're so beyond bricklaying; I'm being sarcastic, of course), but this is just one example of a trend that plays out in a million different ways across the economy every day. New tech shows up; jobs get a little dumber, require a few less skills. Wages go down. Productivity jumps. Profits increase. Wealth gets transferred, from workers to owners.
Repeat until systemic collapse.
A big thank-you to all the great people who retweeted me yesterday:
Buy my books (or click to find out more, at least):