Sunday, January 09, 2011

Tech Pulse article warns that technology can lead to long term structural unemployment



Hunter Richards has a perspective, “Technology, Unemployment, and our Children’s Future”, on the Software Advice Blog, which he advised me about by email Saturday. The story explains, and diagrams with a sequence of some picturesque algebraic graphs, how technology has transformed our society, but made chronic unemployment more likely for many people, including those with less education, fewer familial resources, or cognitive inflexibility. The article also mentions the “Tech Pulse Index”.

In education, there’s a good question as to whether students are learning to do things “for themselves” (like long division, in arithmetic, say) that computers do so efficiently. But when I substitute-taught, I still saw plenty of paper-and-pencil exercises without computers.

Computer and Internet access at home, and the need for parental control (and a “family computer”) could also affect how quickly more advanced students progressed into the areas of opportunity discussed in this piece.

Picture (second): anybody remember the old, coin-operated pay phone?

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