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Can middle-class workers robot-proof their jobs?

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Typewriter 640 stock
Typewriter 640 stock

The Luddites' quest to destroy machines that could let lower-wage workers replace skilled craftsmen is often turned into a simplistic story about technophobia, but they hit on a problem that would come up for centuries afterwards: how do we deal with the negative short-term effects that new technology can have on an industry without trying to turn back the clock? At The New York Times, economics professors David H. Autor and David Dorn argue that automation may inherently split society into well-paid knowledge classes and poor, low-skilled labor, and that urging everyone to go to college won't fix the problem. Instead, they suggest a focus on vocational training in jobs that remain too flexible to be done by machines but not so arcane that they can't be learned simply.