ITIF Debate: Is Technology Responsible for American Job Loss?

September 10, 2013

Since the Great Recession, a long list of books, studies, and news articles have attempted to assign the blame for America’s sustained high levels of unemployment to technology. These academics and journalists argue that factory automation, robots and faster and smarter computers are letting organizations replace workers at an unprecedented pace, leading to joblessness. As MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee assert in their book Race Against the Machine, workers are “losing the race against the machine, a fact reflected in today’s employment statistics.”

ITIF will host a unique debate on this critical economic policy issue. Dr. Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business in the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of Race Against the Machine, will argue that technology is leading to job loss and the pace will only speed up. Robert Atkinson, President of ITIF and co-author of Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage, will argue that technology does not lead to net job loss and that America actually needs faster, technologically-based productivity growth. The recorded livestream will be available to watch shortly.