Thu, 28 Sep 2017, by Wayne Radinsky

"The most important thing to recognize is that all points above the flat red line show relative growth in jobs while points below show relative loss in jobs. Points to the left show jobs with less skill required and points to the right show jobs with more skill required. Each curve represents basically a different decade.

"The pace of employment gains in low-wage, manual task-intensive jobs has risen successively across periods, as shown at the left-hand side of the figure. If we look at the far left of the chart, we see growth in jobs with the least skill, increasing decade after decade after decade. As the story goes, technology should have the opposite effect. The simpler a job is, the easier it should be to automate, and yet we're not seeing this at all. Instead we're seeing more and more low-skill jobs being created not destroyed."

"Where these curves intersect the red line has been moving to the right, meaning that more and more middle-skill jobs have been lost in a way that even increasingly eats into higher and higher skill ranges. This is a hollowing out of the middle and even upper-middle."

My commentary: It's correct that automation doesn't eliminate jobs -- rather, it creates what I've been calling the "bifurcation" of the job market. Jobs in the middle go away, leaving only high-skill, high-paying jobs, and low-skill, low-paying jobs (depending, largely, on whether you tell machines what to do or machines tell you what to do). Furthermore, this doesn't contradict the prediction that machines will someday reach human intelligence and automate all the jobs -- it just means that what we should expect to see with these two labor pools is the high-skill, high-paying jobs becoming progressively fewer in number, while the low-skill, low-paying jobs see progressively lower pay. The point where machine intelligence reaches human intelligence and the whole job market is automated is the point where the *number* of high-skill, high-paying jobs hits zero while the *pay* for the low-skill, low-paying jobs also hits zero.