Deutsche Bank examine the impact of the next generation of automation on workers, industry, and society at large in this report.
Anxiety about job-killing robots has a long pedigree. In 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant the inventor of a mechanical knitting machine a patent lest it put manual knitters out of work. Some 400 years later, Queen Elizabeth's fear is still with us. Not a day goes by without several articles on the future of work, the rise of precariousness and wage stagnation. The fear is that we are entering a new age in which robots are mastering not just physical abilities, as in the 19th and 20th centuries, but also cognitive abilities, leaving humans with increasingly little to do.
The popular perception differs sharply from the view of historians and economists. Those often warring tribes have typically been united in their response to these concerns. The unanimous answer seems to be: far from destroying jobs, automation makes them better; far from decimating wages, automation boosts them; and far from making the world a worse place, automation should be welcomed.