Could Tech Automation Disrupt 50% of the Job Market?

January 6, 2017 - 2 minutes read

50% of jobs, wiped out in twenty years.

That’s the figure that pundits have been pushing lately — and while it’s largely based on speculation, the fact is that we’re already losing jobs to automation. Quickly.

While it’s often presented as a negative thing or a sign of American failures, let’s be honest: if tech doesn’t move forward here, other countries will pick up the torch and lead the charge. Dropping out of the tech race and going back to an idealized past isn’t the answer to the automation problem facing the American tech market.

Ultimately, the challenge for Los Angeles app developers will be how to structure efforts from tech companies to combat this problem ourselves. So far, government-led education efforts have been slow even to fill holes in the tech economy, let alone solve employment issues in the country at large. According to White House reports, tens of thousands of jobs went unfilled in the past year thanks to poor education, forcing companies to rely on immigrant and remote workers for key engineering roles.

Ironically, much of the work done to solve this problem in the past year has come from the tech industry itself, in the form of specialty-skill “coding bootcamps” and lobbying from groups like ACT The App Association.

What will the backlash be for app developers if the employment gap in the US economy isn’t taken seriously? According to many in the app development industry, the answer could be revolt. Populist movements are on the rise, and if tech companies willingly create a “haves vs have-nots” setup, the next movement will likely target technological advancements.

Needless to say, the results of such a movement will harm everyone with a stake in the US economy. Which is to say, the whole world.

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