MIT professor warns of ‘enormous disruption’ from rapid technological growth

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, July 9, 2012 21:59 EDT
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MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Erik Brynjolfsson on Monday warned that technological advancements were displacing workers at an ever growing rate.

“Technology’s always been creating jobs, it’s always been destroying jobs,” he told Current TV host Eliot Spitzer. “Ninety percent of Americans used to work on farms in 1800. Today it’s less than 2 percent. Now, all those people didn’t become unemployed, they went into new industries, like the auto industry that Henry Ford helped create and the work that Edison did and Steve Jobs and many others — whole new industries were created.”

“What’s different this time is [that] the scale, scope and speed of the technological change is so great that the jobs that are being eliminated are a much bigger share of the economy than the new jobs that are being created,” Brynjolfsson added.

While technological progress and automation had mostly replaced human laborers in the past, Brynjolfsson noted that advances in computers were displacing workers nearly all sectors of the economy.

In his book Race Against the Machine, Brynjolfsson and co-author Andrew McAfee argue that technology is contributing to unemployment and income inequality by destroying middle-class jobs.

“It is really every part of the economy, every job that is being affected,” he said. “And the speed of this change is much more rapid than the past.”

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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