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Bill Gates Speaks on the Future Strucutre of the Labor Market

Bill Gates, who recently reclaimed his title as world’s richest man, was one of the keynote speakers todaty  The American Enterprise Institute, an economic thinktank. He specifically addressed the future of the Labor Market.Gates belives that over the next 20 years many jobs, primarily but limited to low-skilled industries, will be replaced by automation. Here is a quoute from the article:

“Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s  progressing. …  Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs,  particularly at the lower end of skill set. …  20 years from now,  labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I  don’t think people have that in their mental model.” – Bill Gates

While his message may be viewed as pessimistic to many, his intentions are to help our economy prepare for this structural change. He proposed changes to the tax code and caution when setting the minimum wage as a way to offset this decrease in labor demand.

I think that The American Institute was wise to invite Gates to speak. The accuracy of Economic Models, particularly in predicting the future, is dependent on the amount of and actuary of the input data. Bill Gates is arguably the world’s foremost expert on software and his predictions should be taken very seriously by both policy makers and the general public.

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  1. christycui christycui

    With today’s technology development, it makes sense for us to worry about the decrease in job demand. However, I don’t quite agree with Gate’s statement that minimum wage shouldn’t be increased because it will discourage employers to hire. In fact, there are studies that have shown the opposite. It seems to me that employers either need someone to flip burgers or they don’t. In the future, they may need someone to supervise the robots to flip burgers, or they don’t.

  2. gjeong gjeong

    Indeed workers (esp. unskilled labor) should be worried about the future because of the technology development. However, I believe that as jobs are taken by robots or machines, there will be more jobs created by the development of technology. We may lead to labor surplus, but I do not think it will be severe enough that we should be pessimistic about the future.

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