Improving technology has advantages and drawbacks. On the good side, it greatly improves our life. Just look at smartphones. We can now search for our favorite Mexican restaurant, watch movies and search the Internet all on our phones. So what’s the problem with technology? Often it means the loss of jobs. New tech made a lot of steady jobs obsolete. This two-edged sword was recently looked at in an intriguing new story by the Economist newspaper.
The Economist story points out that new technology almost always eliminates some jobs. It’s no surprise. To prove this point, the newspaper looks at farm life. About 100 years ago, one out of three U.S. residents worked on a farm. These days less than 2 percent of U.S. residents can say the same. Why? Technology.
Today, farms rely on new technology to deliver a lot more food with far fewer workers. That’s the good news. The majority of the workers who once worked on farms were able to land new jobs that were created thanks in part to evolving technology over the years.
The problem now, as the Economist story explains, is that no one is sure if new technology will keep creating new jobs. We know already that new technology has made it simpler for companies to operate more efficiently. And we know that new technology in doing this has enabled many companies to reduce the number of workers they employ. What we don’t know is if new technology will create the new jobs that these displaced workers need. The Economist’s solution? Education needs to change, switching its focus to teaching the creativity and talents that workers need in today’s new economy. And, the Economist adds, it’s up to governments around the world to enact legislation that will make this switch in educational philosophy possible.