Steve Lohr at the New York Times: “L. Rafael Reif, the president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, delivered an intellectual call to arms to the university’s faculty in November 2017: Help generate insights into how advancing technology has changed and will change the work force, and what policies would create opportunity for more Americans in the digital economy.
That issue, he wrote, is the “defining challenge of our time.”
Three years later, the task force assembled to address it is publishing its wide-ranging conclusions. The 92-page report, “The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines,” was released on Tuesday….
Here are four of the key findings in the report:
Most American workers have fared poorly.
It’s well known that those on the top rungs of the job ladder have prospered for decades while wages for average American workers have stagnated. But the M.I.T. analysis goes further. It found, for example, that real wages for men without four-year college degrees have declined 10 to 20 percent since their peak in 1980….
Robots and A.I. are not about to deliver a jobless future.
…The M.I.T. researchers concluded that the change would be more evolutionary than revolutionary. In fact, they wrote, “we anticipate that in the next two decades, industrialized countries will have more job openings than workers to fill them.”…
Worker training in America needs to match the market.
“The key ingredient for success is public-private partnerships,” said Annette Parker, president of South Central College, a community college in Minnesota, and a member of the advisory board to the M.I.T. project.
The schools, nonprofits and corporate-sponsored programs that have succeeded in lifting people into middle-class jobs all echo her point: the need to link skills training to business demand….
Workers need more power, voice and representation.The report calls for raising the minimum wage, broadening unemployment insurance and modifying labor laws to enable collective bargaining in occupations like domestic and home-care workers and freelance workers. Such representation, the report notes, could come from traditional unions or worker advocacy groups like the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs With Justice and the Freelancers Union….(More)”