The Implications of Automation on the Future of LaborIntroduction Technology has always been perceived as a product of the future. Although, that future is becoming more and more of a reality each day, as we exhibit the effects of invention as well as innovation. Technology is changing a wide range of industries from newspapers, publishing, and entertainment, to health care, transportation, and lodging. In the past, we have seen automation affecting the ease at which simple tasks are performed, but we need to keep in mind the implications and negative impacts that come along with these positive benefits. In the present day, automation is used to make jobs easier and production faster and more efficient, but what remains uncertain is how automation will shape the future of labor and the job market. According to Rob Atkinson from the Monthly Labor Review, technological possibilities are an uncharted sea and predicting the structure of the labor market and U.S. economy in the future is a daunting and difficult task.Unemployment Rate and Increased AutomationRobots are anticipated to appear in every sector of the labor market and have both positive and adverse effects. An increase in unemployment generated by automation is shown by Marco De Witte and Bram Steijn (2000) in their research report Automation, Job Content, and Underemployment. De Witte and Steijn found that “When compared to non-automated jobs, automated jobs are characterised both by higher levels of complexity and a automation.” Additionally, they discovered that “increasing complexity in jobs is usually accompanied by higher demands for educational qualification.” This shows that as a result of an increase in automation, the educational entry requirements for some jobs are rising, meaning that as automation grows in prevalence, it will be harder to attain jobs without a solid academic background. De Witte and Steijn also explain that “automation leads to standardised and routinised work that robs workers of the chance to learn on the job… it becomes impossible to develop new skills or to acquire more advanced work experience as workers become deprived of their ability to think, figure out and discover.” In addition to an increase in the demand for education, automation leads to a decrease in autonomy, underutilizing the capacities of workers, which was found to result in less job satisfaction. Another way automation results in job dissatisfaction is that it increases educational demand which tends tends to increase work expectations that cannot be met by relatively low level jobs and, hence, contributes to job dissatisfaction.De Witte and Steijn’s findings are supported by Scott Winship in The Truth about Jobs, who also concludes that automation is replacing jobs. Winship explains how the “middle class is becoming “hollowed out” as job growth is increasingly confined to occupations that require either very low-level skills or highly sophisticated ones—and that pay accordingly.” He calls this “job polarization” and it’s caused by technological changes that have automated many “middle-skill” jobs. In contrast to De Witte and Steijn, Thomas Grose in Replaced By Machines finds that although some jobs will be harder to attain and some will be lost, other jobs will be created. He states, “technologies boost productivity and efficiency, which lowers the price of goods and services while raising people’s spending power and leisure time. That in turn creates demand for goods and services, generating new jobs that aren’t automated.” Grose furthers that automation creates many more jobs than it destroys and uses Amazon as an example. When Amazon automated its shipping operations, costs were brought down to the extent where the company planned to hire 100,000 new workers within the next 18 months. Automation and the Economy Automation is predicted to transform the economy in many different ways. Using Singapore’s economy, we can predict how automation will shape the future. In Hing Ai Yun’s research report, Automation and New Work Patterns: Cases From Singapore’s Electronics Industry, he shows how the state has a policy of the extensive encouragement of automation as well as the continuous upgrading of the labour force through further education and retraining. The rapid capital inflow and growing economy of Singapore created a shallowing in the pool of labor. This means that the fear of unemployment is decreased even though there is some disruption in people’s lives. Workers in Singapore usually have a positive attitude towards automation because of the positive economic conditions. Winship makes the prediction that lower income families are expected to benefit due to lower prices facilitated by the lower costs for labor.Conclusion Although it’s hard to predict exactly what the future of the workforce will look like, we know that some jobs will be lost and some will be created. One prediction is certain, technology is always changing, transforming jobs and the way people live. When Singapore converted to an automation workforce, Yun found that ” Only half the workers who had passed through the process of automation say they have been given training to prepare them for automation.” Workers were found to not be willing or able to make the necessary sacrifices to upgrade themselves, and job management would not or could not spare the workers to go for training during working time. This shows how there needs to be an educational system that prepares individuals for the situation where implementation of automation is changing their work. Jack E. Adams from the Southern Economic Journal supports this idea and discusses that the American system of education will have to be altered to provide students with skills that make it possible for them to function productively in an ever changing society. David Autor, an American economist and professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, questions the ability of the United States education and job training system to produce the kinds of workers who will thrive in middle-skill jobs. Thus, in order to sustain a lasting middle-skill workforce, an education system that teaches flexibility and adaptation will be necessary.