Despite a century of remarkable labor-saving automation, the fraction of U.S. adults who work at a job has risen almost continuously for the past 125 years. This poses a paradox: our machines increasingly do our work for us: why doesn’t that make our labor redundant and our skills obsolete?
This talk by MIT Economist David Autor addresses the paradox of why there are there still so many jobs. He explains how, even as machines displace rote human activity, they complement human expertise, judgment, and creativity. Autor lays out what this means for the future of work, and for the challenges that automation does—and does not—pose for our society.
David Autor is Ford Professor of Economics and Associate Head of the MIT Department of Economics. Autor’s work assesses the labor market consequences of technological change and globalization, focusing on earnings inequality, employment and unemployment, and feedback between labor market opportunities, household structure, and the social and intellectual development of children.
Autor earned a B.A. in Psychology from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1999. Prior to graduate study, he devoted three years to directing computer skills education for economically disadvantaged children and adults at non-profit organizations in San Francisco and South Africa.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx