Automating Our Jobs Away

Interesting article with lots of good links from Quartz via NextDraft about how middle class jobs are more and more rapidly being replaced by computers. And in the case of the example below, the jobs that are left are being run by computers…

«In a gleaming new warehouse in the old market town of Rugley, England, Amazon directs the actions of hundreds of “associates” wielding hand-held computers. These computers tell workers not only which shelf to walk to when they’re pulling goods to be shipped, but also the optimal route by which to get there. Each person’s performance is monitored, and they are given constant feedback about whether or not they are performing their job quickly enough. Their bosses can even send them text messages via their handheld computers, urging them to speed up. “You’re sort of like a robot, but in human form,” one manager at Amazon’s warehouse told the Financial Times. “It’s human automation, if you like.”»

I frequently hear some variation of the quote «Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be.» it is easy for me to fathom adequate online math courses with hundreds of students in them. I think I could even teach an ok online math course to a large group of students. And what about if (or better when) Khan Academy begins offering certificates for course completion for courses such as Algebra 1 or Calculus and those students are shown to be as adept as the ones in the traditional classes? Maybe us math teachers will be replaced too. I think I have a job at least until June 8th.