Will we still have jobs when robots take over?
For centuries, technology has significantly improved our way of life. So why are we now suspicious of new technology and afraid of what the future holds?
One of the obvious reasons is the fear of mass unemployment. Various studies say that up to 50% of all people might lose their jobs due to technology, robots and artificial intelligence. Are we creating a self-destructive force?
Nobel Laureate Robert M. Solow believes that even though 80% of the US economy’s growth is driven by technological progress, people will still play a vital role if they have the right skills. So, even if the modern technological revolution is transforming the way we do business, humans can stay in the driving seat.
How do we make sure everyone benefits in the age of technology?
Edmund S. Phelps also sees technology as our ticket to global prosperity. But for him, innovation is the vital ingredient. Like Robert M. Solow, he believes innovation only flourishes when people are included in it at every level of employment. And not just in places like Silicon Valley, but across the country. He argues that if we don’t plug everyone into creative and innovative work, it’ll be bad for the economy and society as a whole.
So what skills do we need to survive in the modern world?
Why is there unemployment when jobs are available?
Sir Christopher has studied this question extensively and realized that existing models couldn’t explain it. His research shows that the traditional supply and demand model didn’t fit the problem: employment isn’t transactional, it’s more like dating - the chemistry has to be right. His study of the labor market was a big step forward, and it’s been beneficial to governments, the unemployed and society as a whole.
"Unemployment is one of the biggest failures of our economic system."
Laureate Edmund S. Phelps also rocked the boat when he challenged the accepted theory that inflation helped unemployment. He upset traditional economists by wanting to use life-like actors in his economic models, to reflect the fact that people make decisions without having all the right information at their fingertips.
"You need younger people to come into the economy. To be productive and help the economy function. And basically help support all the old people."
Can game theory avoid wars and help create peace?
Technological and scientific breakthroughs are common in the defense industry. So while we develop more and more efficient ways to destroy people and cities, there’s also a new science that works towards preventing war.
Nobel Laureate Robert J. Aumann used game theory to study conflict and cooperation between decision makers, to develop models that might prevent wars from happening in the first place. Studies have already shown that being prepared for war is actually a big part of promoting peace.
Can game theory save lives?
We know that game theory can help avoid wars. But what about applying it to markets to save lives outside of the battlefield?
Nobel Laureate, Alvin E. Roth, realized that speed dating, applying to secondary school and even undergoing a potentially life-saving organ transplant can all be seen as markets. As a result, he pioneered a kidney swap program. It helped people wanting to donate a kidney to a loved one with an incompatible blood type to be matched with other incompatible donor pairs.
He also used game theory to solve the challenge of matching students with schools in big cities like New York and Boston, and finding the best way to match couples when speed dating.
So yes, it appears that game theory can change and even save lives.
How can people manage their own resources?
Elinor C. Ostrom was the first female Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences. She believed that people are perfectly capable of taking control of important community decisions, without external authorities imposing rules. Her extensive fieldwork focused on how people interact with ecosystems, such as forests, fisheries and irrigation systems, while maintaining their long-term sustainability.