The world is widely considered to be on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution – one where machines will be able to do many of the jobs currently performed by humans, and perhaps even do them better.
It is a future that promises greater efficiency and cheaper services, but one that also could herald widespread job losses.
It raises a troubling question for all of us – when will a machine be able to do my job?
This anxiety about automation is understandable in light of the hair-raising progress that tech companies have made lately in robotics and artificial intelligence.
The outsourcing of work to machines is not, after all, new—it’s the dominant motif of the past 200 years of economic history, from the cotton gin to the washing machine to the car.
Over and over again, as vast numbers of jobs have been destroyed, others have been created.