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Lecture on Computers and Employment

4 Pages

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1700
Dov Lungu

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NATS 1700 – Computer, Info, and Society November 21, 25, & 28, 2013 Computers and Employment Technology and Employment • Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution on technology has been blamed for massive unemployment • In England, in 1811-12, the Luddites burned weaving looms in an effort to stop technologies that were eliminating their jobs o Neo-Luddites are people who strongly criticize computers and the Internet Employment: The Optimistic View • Computers eliminate some jobs but create others o Computer makers, designers, programmes o Chips makers o The introduction of the WWW created new jobs in the US: 36K in 1995, 100K in 1996 o The latest apps trend creates new jobs • Computers create more jobs than they destroy • Computers have not cause significant unemployment • Examples: o In the 1990s the European Union was less computerized than the USA but had a higher rate of unemployment o In the year 2000 the US population was 4 times larger than in 1900. Yet, unemployment was very low (4%) The Upskilling Claim • Automation occurs in already routinized work situation o The new computer technology takes the drudge work out of information processing, giving people more times to concentrate on conceptual and decision making tasks  Example: Accountants learned to use spreadsheets and other programs, and now they have more time for thinking planning, and analysis o Computerization results in a net increase in skills and job satisfaction Employment: The Pessimistic View NATS 1700 – Computer, Info, and Society November 21, 25, & 28, 2013 • Video: Computers and Automations in the 1950s • Computes eliminate a much wider variety of jobs than any other single technology in the past o Information and Communication Technology (ICT) replaces old tasks and operation through automation  The apps “industry” does not make up for the number of jobs destroyed by IT o Jobs based on information intermediation will be lost through “disintermediation” o Production will increase, prices will decrease but there will be more buyers? • There are more highly skilled jobs than before • Effects on job opportunities in particular industries, organizations range from o Devastating: metal working, typesetting, bank tellers o To minimal: scanners in stores • Because of automation the unskilled, uneducated workers may face a lifetime of minim wage jobs or welfare • Technology may be helping to create an unbalances society with two classes: o A growing mass of poor, uneducated people and o A shrinking class of affluent educated people • Painful periods of adjustment may be in store for many factory workers, clerical workers, and other semiskilled and unskilled laborers The Deskilling Claim • Information technology will strip relatively skilled jobs of their conceptual content which becomes built into software o Example: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) in the Machine Industry o A preprogrammed computer rather than a skilled machinist, controls the basic operation of the machine tool that makes parts o For the machinist, the job changes from deciding on appropriate settings and manually turning dials and levers to produces the required part, to supervision of a computer- controlled activity • Ne
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