This story explores both the promise and peril of automation.
Over the last century, the miracle of automation has freed mankind from backbreaking labor, has dramatically lowered the cost of manufacturing, and has made the global economy much more productive and efficient. Unfortunately, it has also been, and continues to be, an enormously disruptive force for unskilled labor. One could argue it has been one of the key agents driving the increase in wealth inequality as the wage gap between “brains” and “brawn” becomes ever wider.
One of the few economic sectors that has been relatively unaffected by automation is the services industry. But as artificial intelligence becomes increasingly sophisticated, and the cost of automation becomes cheaper relative to human labor, it is certain to change.
In “Chasing A.M.I.E.”, I wanted to provide readers with a sense of how the corporate motivation to maximize profits often generates long-term positive outcomes for consumers, while simultaneously sowing the socioeconomic seeds of capitalism’s own demise. In essence, sometimes capitalism works so well it destroys the very jobs that provide consumers with the financial wherewithal to fuel economic expansion.
I also thought it would be interesting to tell the story from the perspective of a business school professor teaching a case study in order to show that like any emerging technological trend, automation is inherently neither good nor evil.
It’s how society responds to it that matters.
Thanks for listening to my story and to The Overcast for sharing it.