Thank you, President Obama, for all that you have done for this country. Please keep helping us in ways that only you can do. You have clearly seen the power of technology as an added instructional tool for the twenty-first century, but you are definitely not obsessed with the instant self-gratification of social media/Twitter as a tool to attack political and personal enemies (real or imagined). Are you listening, Mr. Trump? It’s not all about the technology. Education is still the key as advocated by President Obama.
Maybe a little history lesson will help. When the United States moved from an agrarian economy to an industrialized economy, it rapidly expanded high school education: By 1951, the average American had 6.2 more years of education than someone born 75 years earlier. The extra education enabled people to do new kinds of jobs, and explains 14 percent of the annual increases in labor productivity during that period, economists say. Now the country faces a similar problem. Machines can do many low-skilled tasks, and American children, especially those from low-income and minority families, lag behind their peers in other countries educationally. President Obama named some policy ideas for dealing with the problem: stronger unions, an updated social safety net and a tax overhaul so that the people benefitting most from technology share some of their earnings.
The Trump administration probably won’t agree with many of these solutions. But the economic consequences of automation will be one of the biggest problems it faces. It won’t go away. It can’t be FIRED!