American Workers Brace for Inevitable Job Displacement by Robots

Published on October 24th, 2017

robot barrista
Coming soon to a café near you, a robot barista.

The September Bureau of Labor Statistics report that showed the economy lost 33,000 jobs may have motivated Google to announce its $1 billion initiative, spread out over five years, to help workers prepare for the inevitable. Google’s grants will be distributed in three areas: education, economic opportunity and inclusion which has already received $100 million.

Within the next 20 years, automation will displace many workers, perhaps up to half of the employed according to University of Oxford research. The displacement has started in manufacturing and administrative support services. Amazon, for example, hailed its robots as more efficient than humans. The next wave of lost jobs, Oxford predicts, will be management, science, construction and the arts.

Explaining Google’s commitment to help displaced workers, CEO Sundar Pichai said that “One-third of jobs in 2020 will require skills that aren’t common today. It’s a big problem.” Google will assign 1,000 employees as career coaches.

Skeptics wonder if Google is more concerned about polishing up its tarnished image than helping soon to be jobless Americans. As one critic wrote, Silicon Valley has made too many billions while ignoring too many middle class Americans to have retained the goodwill it once enjoyed when it cranked out one technological advancement after another.

Whatever Google’s motives may be, its initiative is more proof that the United States doesn’t need to add one million legal, lifetime work authorized immigrants each year. Equally hurtful would be either of the two amnesty bills that Congress is considering, both of which would grant work authorization about 12 million present illegal immigrants. The SUCCEED Act and the DREAM Act grant amnesty, and other affirmative benefits, but without an E-Verify provision to protect American workers.

Despite E-Verify’s proven success and its popularity among Americans, the program has made little progress in Congress since its implementation. Early this year, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley introduced a mandatory E-Verify bill, S 179, which needs your support. Since its January introduction, the bill had added only 11 Republican cosponsors. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your senators that on employment, Americans come first.

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