With corporations socking away massive profits, and with the labor market fairly tight, why are worker's wages still stuck at miserly and even poverty levels?
One big reason is that corporate boards and CEOs have their heads stuck in a dreamy future. Nearly every economic sector is actually spending vast sums of money on workers — just not human workers. While few Americans are aware of it, bosses are quietly investing in hordes of sophisticated autonomous robots powered by a cognitive technology called artificial intelligence. Instead of paying a decent wage to you, corporations are buying millions of these cheap, human-esque thinking machines in order to take a shocking number of jobs from... well, from you.
Accountants, bank loan officers, financial analysts, insurance claims adjustors — all of these "numbers jobs" are already falling to bots that can calculate much faster and more accurately than people.
Journalism? Associated Press now uses artificial intelligence machines to write thousands of financial articles and sports reports and Forbes magazine uses an AI system named Quill to pen articles.
Skilled labor? Meet SAM, a robotic bricklayer that lays three times as many bricks in a day as humans can, displacing the jobs of three people. Crane and bulldozer operators are expected to be ousted by robots in the next 10 years.
Farmers? The first robot farm is opening in Japan, with automatons transplanting, watering and harvesting the crop. There's also a shepherd robot that can run an entire livestock farm.
Also, the jobs of librarians, pharmacists, lawyers, air traffic controllers, doctors, teachers, hospital administrators, bartenders — and so many more — are targeted for massive displacement. In just the next five years, six percent of all U.S. jobs are expected to be robotized!
Whether you're ready or not there's a robot in your future, and clearly I don't mean one of those cute little labor-saving automatons — like a "Roomba" vacuum cleaner that scoots around
Far from saving you from doing extra labor, this new wave of robots is being brought into your workplace to rescue corporate bosses and investors from paying you to work for them. You might think, not my workplace, for I'm not a factory worker — I've got a college degree and I work with my brain, so no contraption doing rote mechanical tasks can take my job.
These are "thinking machines," implanted with complex neural networks and superfast algorithmic computers that operate in sync, functioning much like the cluster of specialized cells in the human brain. These brainy bots have a fast-evolving ability to watch, listen and learn on their own, they can develop new abilities and are even able to produce and teach other robots. Not only are they displacing flesh-and-blood workers on factory assembly lines, but millions of them are now being moved into professional, managerial, creative and other occupations previously assumed to be the secure domains of higher-educated, higher-paid people, and as you can see from the list above... maybe even yours.
To be clear, it's not robots that are taking our jobs, but corporate profiteers. They're creating a robot economy in order to displace you and me with inexpensive machines that don't demand higher wages or health care, don't take sick days or vacations and don't organize unions, file lawsuits or vote for pro-worker politicians. It's to be a plutocratic utopia designed by and for the corporate elite — and they're pushing it hard and fast, hoping We the People don't wake up until it's too late.
Robots are not our enemy — the corporate bosses, bankers and BSers who own robots are the ones doing this to us, and now is the time for all of us whom they're about to discard to rebel against their socially destructive greed.
Populist author, public speaker, and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.