Are you already replaced by a robot? How does that feel?

December 23, 2016

In this week's' issue of The New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell blows the whistle on the not-too-distant future of "RoboNations." (My invented word for a world where at least two thirds of the value added in a product or service is created by a machine. ) Gladwell's mind, as always, is labyrinthine in its layered complexity, but I still managed to glean a couple of points, which I thought were relevant to the future of mental health around the world.


Consider this matrix:



                   Manual                                                                  Cognitive


Routine           Assembly Line                                           Language Class

                           Attendance Taking                                      Bankruptcy Atty

                           Planting & Harvesting                                 SEO/On-Line Mktg

                           Cook                                                           HTML Coding

                           Landscape Maintenance

                           Cleaning Service

                           Massage Therapist



Non-Routine   Land-Mine Searching                                 Question Answering

                           Chef                                                           Prayer

                                  Plastering                                                  Psychotherapy

                      Chiropractor                                               Coaching

                                                                                             Landscape Design


                                                                                             Divorce Atty





Gladwell claims that Manual /Routine tasks have already been automated, but will see additional innovations in the next decade that will increase machine driven productivity. The same can be said of Cognitive/Routine tasks. Gladwell makes an interesting point: many of the jobs that have been "off-shore-ed" fit into this quadrant. As they become increasingly machine driven, the tasks may return to the US or anywhere else, but the jobs will not.


Trump's assertion that jobs have been pirated from the US to cheaper labor markets is probably too little too late. Cheaper labor markets are irrelevant when the task is performed by a machine. And what is the marginal value added by an improved technology? Is there any limitation to that -- as there might be in a tractor or a vacuum cleaner?

















First, when Trump talks about the jobs that have gone off-shore (off US shores, that is), most of them are in the

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Based on the research of Brené Brown

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