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We Are Allowing Capital To Pyramid Through Automation
OPINION 10/06/2039 6:15 AM ET
We Are Allowing Capital To Pyramid Through Automation

Steven Lichtner
Professor of Economics, University of Maryland

CC BY 4.0 Tesla Motors Assembly Line by Steve Jurvetson | Writer image: CC BY 4.0 Headshot by Joshua Blount | Images were cropped. Images used for illustration purposes only.
Automation is eradicating the need for human beings.
Yesterday's White House jobs report was as depressing as it was expected.

Revealing that businesses added a paltry 15,000 jobs in September is bad enough. Topping that with a return to more than 12% unemployment (now 12.6%) is no joke.

These are the numbers of jobs added monthly over the six months to August: 60,000, 53,000, 41,000, 44,000, 52,000, 39,000. There is a definite trend, as is there in the lean toward part-time jobs created vs full-time positions. September's jobs figures showed 55% of those 15,000 jobs added were part-time. That number hasn't been below 40% since February of last year.

Involuntary part-time employment has climbed dramatically since June 2031 - when it was 18% - and is now at 41%. That is a staggering figure representing a broad challenge to American workers' ability to earn a living wage.

Remember, prior to 2020, the historical (annual) involuntary part-time employment rate was under 10%. It went from doubling in the eleven years to 2031, to more than doubling in the past three.

There is more than a tenuous correlation between that sudden rise of Americans working part-time against their wishes, and the release of IBM's Pharius software.

Unveiled two months prior (April '31), Pharius works hand in hand with Intel's next generation of Clearfield chips, delivering the closest experience to cognitive A.I. we've yet seen. Vetiron and Bosker-Crisp were immediately ready with models to deploy, which have adapted with stunning ease to many entry, and even not-so entry level roles.

So many jobs have been swallowed up by models running Pharius, that part-time labor has become the norm for many, as firms look to either transition to mechanization, or fill in short-term gaps in machine productivity.

What follows is very much a partial list of the jobs Pharius has successfully integrated, with a July 2034 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate of the percentage of those jobs now fully mechanized :

Grocery deliverer - 95%
Franchise short-order cook - 92%
Bus driver (municipal service) - 90%
Telemarketer - 86%
Package delivery driver - 78%
Security guard - 60%
Flight attendant - 53%
Line cook - 44%
Financial advisor - 44%
Financial compliance officer - 31%
Civil lawyer - 13%
Doctor (general practitioner) - 9%

It's worth noting Pharius' highly-malleable potential. In a new commercial for Vetiron, Jung debuted Blister, their new drummer. Blister is a mark II Kesser android, running Pharius. Vetiron has announced the delightful-sounding Dusti patch which will be available next March, enabling non-androided Pharius models to handle manual labor.

If you're a carpenter, bricklayer, plumber, painter...you may not be, soon.

Rumor has it that the Department of Defense is even working with Bosker-Crisp on experimental military prototypes based on their popular Pharius models.

And that's not all: Google and Facebook have both announced separate research projects into A.I. software based on Clearfield.

The point is, this is here and it's going to be more here. Republicans will try to sell you on the notion that mechanization of entry-level roles sped up after the $15 minimum wage was eased in, starting in 2020. Don't believe them. They're trying to convince you that big business was forced into mechanizing their employees out of existence, when the truth is that articles like this were being written 20 years ago.

Their enthusiastic embrace of technology as a driver for higher profits is as scandalous as it is transparent. But what it means is capital that would otherwise be flowing through the hands of poorer Americans with jobs is now concentrating at the top of a a very fat pyramid.

Both tech firms, making new products within the scope of the A.I. revolution, and the companies utilizing mechanized employees are posting record profits. Vetiron's stock has risen to 4100% of its pre-April 2031 price. Carlos Benitez, CEO of Vetiron, was paid $175m last year.

IBM's Peter Phillips received $224m last year, in cash and bonuses, after IBM stock hit record levels.

The pervasiveness of Pharius' reach has similarly impacted the corporations who have adopted it. McDonald's - one of the first to utilize the technology - dug itself out of a slump by promising burgers which looked like the commercial, and by transforming their restaurants into massive social-digital hubs. Their stock has never been higher, and the average remuneration of their board members is approximately $75m.

United has fully mechanized its flight attendants, saving approximately $1.5bn per year. COO Shane Rutherford's salary last year? $98m. New York Magazine ran a piece last year on the ways older former United flight attendants - unable to get jobs in the new economy - are killing themselves.

There are thousands of anecdotal examples of the rich contributing to the decay of ordinary Americans. This is not a new story by any means, but the tools have enabled already morally questionable profiteers to resemble corporate emperors off the back of those they've crudely ditched in the gutter.

This is having a creeping effect on the overall economy as society picks up the tab. Welfare payments have increased 85% from 2030 levels. Medicaid and Medicare expenditure has increased similary.

This is forcing the government to borrow money at record levels, just to keep the system going, which is increasing interest payments, leading to more stress on other public spending, which...well, you get the picture.

Meanwhile, as mid-level jobs disappear, entry-level jobs are now being fought for by the middle-class, forcing those barely scraping by into destitution and despair. Capital is drying up at the poorest end of society and being transferred into the hands of a very rich few.

The unemployment rate will continue to rise and jobs added will continue to trend toward part-time labor.

A very creaky Jenga tower can only take so much stress.
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