Rich and powerful to replace peasants with robots

5After gutting the middle-classes, the rich and powerful want to replace the lower paid with robots.

At the Milken Institute’s Global Conference in  California, at least four panels so far have focused on technology taking over jobs.

Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute said that most of the benefits we see from automation is about higher quality and fewer errors, but in many cases it does reduce labour.

The four-day annual conference, which began on Sunday, invites only 3,500 of the richest and smartest in the world. More than 700 speakers have pointed out that technology has not only done away with many low-wage, low-skill jobs already.

They cited robots operating trucks in some Australian mines, corporate litigation software replacing employees hired to look at pre-trail documents; and on Wall Street, the automation of jobs previously done by bankers with MBAs or PhDs.

Daniel Nadler, chief executive of Kensho, a financial services analytics company partly owned by Goldman Sachs Group  warned that anyone whose job is moving data from one spreadsheet to another is is going to get automated.

The good news Nadler said that it will not be his job that is going. Goldman Sachs will be in here in 10 years, JPMorgan will be here. They’re just going to be much more efficient in terms of operating leverage and headcount.

Banks have slashed tens of thousands of jobs in recent years as businesses like bond trading have become less profitable. Under tremendous pressure from investors to boost profits, but unable to grow revenue much, banks have increasingly turned to technology to reduce costs.

It is also expected that a third of banking jobs will disappear in the US and Europe in the next decade.

Martin Ford, an author and entrepreneur, argued that while the so-called gig economy has created temporary jobs for independent contractors, the next step is to get rid of them. Uber, for example will build cars that do not need drivers.

Billionaire investor Steve Cohen said it would take awhile before robots replace stockpickers like himself.