Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The tech world is spending like it expects robots to take your jobs

There seems to be a rather big split between some leaders in the tech world who think mass automation driving unemployment is just around the corner and many economists who think the relatively slow growth in productivity means these fears are misguided. Both these worlds have been wrong over the years in big ways, but this is not just idle chatter from the tech world.

The biggest tech companies are betting a lot of money on technology that would result in millions of jobs becoming obsolete. Just this week, Intel spent more than $15 billion on a self-driving car technology company. From Business Insider:

Intel, in its second-largest acquisition in its 50-year history, is spending a whopping $15.3 billion to buy the self-driving-car-tech company Mobileye.

If self-driving vehicles are the future — as Uber, Alphabet, and others believe — Intel wants to sell the bits that make them happen.

Just as PCs were once adorned with the reassuring "Intel Inside" stickers, the chipmaker is betting that it can gain a similar foothold inside another product that could sell tens of millions of units ever year.

Tech leaders could be wrong, but they are certainly spending money as if they are convinced the robots are coming -- at least for our driving jobs, which employ around 5 million Americans.

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