Robots Should Take Some Jobs

Source: HBR, Jun 2015

an alternative view for a positive man-machine dynamic. While in the minority, arguments exist for a symbiotic man-machine future. They celebrate that which is uniquely human – meaning and creativity – and that which, in my humble opinion, should be the primary business of humans in the first place.

David Nordfors makes a distinction between a task-centered and human-centered economy. In the task-centered economy humans have no value beyond the tasks they perform. Consequently, they are indistinguishable from machines and will be replaced by them for reasons of cost-efficiency as soon as technically feasible.

In the human-centered economy on the other hand machines liberate humans from predefined tasks with prestated outcomes. This allows them to exercise the value that emerges from collaborating with other humans on open-ended, creative endeavors. Nordfors cites Gallup’s astonishingly low figure of worldwide employee engagement (13%) to surmise the opportunity cost between the two economies: $140 trillion over the next few decades in favor of the human economy.

In the 21st century, creating meaning and innovating will be democratized through technology.


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