Economics of automation

When to the robots come for my job?

Singularity-lite. What does innovation in automation mean for the economy insofar as it pertains to people?

Soundtrack: Machines work, by B(iftek) (video clip).

Daron Acemoglu as written much on this recently(Acemoglu et al. 2020; Acemoglu and Restrepo 2018, 2020). But he is a latecomer. There are many others who have been thinking about this for a long time. It is tricky. What even is the role of manufacturing economically in the economy? How much does automation affect dematerialized economies?

Erusian and Doug Summers-Stay, [ACC] Will Automation Lead To Economic Crisis?

tldr: Until the pace of automation increases faster than new jobs can be created, AI shouldn’t be expected to cause mass unemployment or anything like that. When AI can pick up a new job as quickly and cheaply as a person can, then the economy will break (but everything else will break too, because that would be the Singularity).

As usual, Scott Alexander’s opinion might not be definitive but it does point at some interesting stuff: Technological Unemployment: Much More Than You Wanted To Know.


Acemoglu, Daron, David Autor, Jonathon Hazell, and Pascual Restrepo. 2020. “AI and Jobs: Evidence from Online Vacancies.” Working Paper 28257. National Bureau of Economic Research.
Acemoglu, Daron, and Pascual Restrepo. 2018. “Artificial Intelligence, Automation and Work.” Working Paper 24196. National Bureau of Economic Research.
———. 2020. “The Wrong Kind of AI? Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Labour Demand.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 13 (1): 25–35.
Babina, Tania, Anastassia Fedyk, Alex Xi He, and James Hodson. 2021. “Artificial Intelligence, Firm Growth, and Industry Concentration.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3651052. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Felten, Edward W., Manav Raj, and Robert Seamans. 2019. “The Occupational Impact of Artificial Intelligence: Labor, Skills, and Polarization.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3368605. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network.
Lane, Marguerita, and Anne Saint-Martin. 2021. “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Labour Market: What Do We Know so Far?” January.

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