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.