Larson: Preparing students to participate in the workforce of the future
While we value the role that technology plays in our lives, current trends show that the increase in computers and automation has resulted in fewer middle class jobs.
David Autor, author of "The Great Divide," shares how labor-saving technological changes have increased productivity, but displaced workers. Autor illustrates how computers excel at routine tasks: organizing, storing, retrieving information and executing exactly defined physical movements in production processes. This computerization or automation has reduced the demand for employees who perform routine tasks. Employers have replaced expensive labor with increasingly inexpensive and capable computers. These changes are dismantling the jobs that, for decades, have made up our middle class.
The good news is that there is a growing demand for workers who can perform "non-routine" tasks that complement these automated activities. These abstract tasks, or non-routine work, requires problem solving, intuition, collaboration and creativity. Along with technical "know how," this new work requires a mixture of interpersonal interaction, adaptability, reasoning and independent thinking.
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