We in the IT development industry became aware over thirty years ago that the coming technology revolution would destroy more human jobs than create new ones. Things would be different, very different. No one believed us, least of all government types and those in the social sciences. They all had their eyes in the rear view mirror.
That awareness became a reality in the late 1980s when when research made large gains in machine intelligence – Bayes nets, neural nets, robotics, fuzzy logic, causality, … - that quickly began to be integrated into various industries ranging from defense, through manufacturing and services, to medicine and finance. While all this was happening our central planners were still firmly focused looking backward in their attempts to look ahead; no one in the public policy arena was looking through the windshield.
The early harbinger of the yet to come was and still is systemic unemployment – workforce age people in and out of the job market unwilling and/or unable to economically sustain themselves. What to do about it eludes our governing elites to this day – half of them don’t recognize the problem, the other half would rather not talk about it. Ten years ago I ran some numbers and predicted that by 2020 the US would harbor around 70M systemically unemployed – even though no one believed me, I was wrong. Technology accelerated at rates that even amazed me; five years ago I upped my prediction to 90M as reflected in these pages. I was wrong again because today we have already reached that 90M figure, and now people (excluding locals and liberals) are beginning to take notice.