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That’s the ratio of human jobs lost to robots.

Job-stealing robots aren’t some distant scenario that’s unlikely to cause problems for another “50 to 100 years” from now, as Donald Trump’s treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said in an interview last week.

New research released from the National Bureau of Economic Research yesterday shows that between 1990 and 2007, when one or more industrial robots were introduced into the workforce, it led to the elimination of 6.2 jobs within a local area where people commute for work.

The report, which was authored by economists Daron Acemoglu of MIT and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University, found that the wages of workers also declined slightly as a result of robots entering the U.S. economy. Wages dropped between 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent per 1,000 employees when one or more robots came into the picture.

Within the years studied, robots were responsible for the loss of up to 670,000 manufacturing jobs, a number that could rise as more companies are expected to turn to industrial robots in the coming years, according to the paper.

It started with heavy manufacturing. Then it moved to deliveries, checkouts, and gas pumps. Now the focus is on Uber and driverless vehicles. AI also cooks up some mean legal briefs though this hasn’t become mainstream yet. Yet. Next, in the very near future, robots and AI will write novels and perform surgeries.

This is all well and good until one ponders what jobs will be immune from automation. It seems any field is susceptible. What, exactly, will humans do with their free time and lack of employment?

irobot-robot

Business Insider / Asimov.

If history is a guide, then people will probably concentrate on making more people and killing more people. Habits are hard to break. Robots can and will move into those endeavors as well, particularly the latter.

*Perrin Lovett is an anti-robot bigot. Don’t say he didn’t warn you.

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