Robots are going to take millions of jobs over, and Bill Gates doesn’t think we’re prepared for the shift.
During a lengthy interview with D.C. think tank American Enterprise Institute (via Business Insider), Bill Gates commented on how software automation and robots will take over lower-wage jobs in the near future.
“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses… it’s progressing,” Gates said. “Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set… 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”
It’s like any popular sci-fi flick, from Back to the Future II to The Fifth Element. Instead of a bartender or waiter, you get a screen, or a robot dressed up in a suit. We all get excited at the prospect of interacting with robots, I think, but we don’t often think about the economic impact.
So how does Gates propose keeping a human workforce in the minimum wage space? Governments need to offer incentives to business to keep real people on the payroll. This could be through tax breaks, or even through the elimination of the payroll tax.
The entire Gates interview is about 67 minutes long, and it covers the aforementioned, along with minimum wage, American foreign aid, education, and the connection between charity and capitalism.