Why are there still so many jobs? The History and Future of Workplace AutomationExport this event to calendar

Thursday, October 6, 2016 — 4:00 PM EDT

The Department of Economics is pleased to present the annual Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics, with David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT.

automated manufacturingMany of the great technological advances of the past two centuries have been designed to reduce human work: to substitute mechanical power for human musculature (as in the case of tractors), to replace inconsistent human handiwork with machine perfection (as in the case of assembly lines), and to eliminate slow and error-prone human calculation with digital precision (as in the case of calculators and computers). These inventions have worked. We no longer dig ditches with shovels, pound tools out of wrought iron, or keep books using actual books. 

Despite these vast labour-saving technological advances, the fraction of the adult population that is working at a job is higher now than it was 125 years ago, and it has risen in almost every decade since at least 1890. Why hasn’t automation wiped out employment? Why are there still so many jobs?

David Autor will attempt to answer this question and he will speculate on what this foretells about the future of work and the likelihood - or unlikelihood - of human obsolescence.

Professor Autor is one of the world's most influential labour economists. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of the recent increases in income inequality. His research has been key in identifying the links between automation, the disappearance of routine jobs and the increasing wage premium associated with university education.

Cost 
Free - everyone is welcome
Location 
ML - Modern Languages
Theatre of the Arts
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
Canada

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