[Marxism] jobs and data

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 14 09:44:31 MDT 2017


Today's Times has an interesting article on a new report proposing the
linking and pooling of private and public data on jobs in order to fine
tune placement and training of workers who have been or are likely to be
displaced by increased automation.

As is always the case in such projects, their shaping in the context of a
society which builds needless artificial walls between data sets to protect
property rights and competition, means that millions will be spent on what
in the end will be yet another Rube Goldberg machine.

But ironically this wealth of data, and the way capitalism hobbles its
efficient use, could open wide the doors to a discussion of how data could
be used more efficiently - if we define efficient as meeting our social
needs.

The project as proposed in the report suggests megatweaks to data used by
existing companies and government agencies, and NOT touching the operations
of those bodies or their profits and revenue. The result is reversing the
way the information should flow. Logically we should start with how many
people need jobs or need their jobs and pay improved, and how those figures
mesh with services and care needed. But the report won't touch that: its
self-defined mission is to predict job flows and training needs in a system
whose profits and inequality are taken as sacrosanct.

By the way, notice the discussion at the end of the article about the lack
of data in the early '30s - and early efforts made to overcome that lack
(this is the period in which Wassily Leontief was working with various
government agencies to build and expand his input-output tables.)

The Times article is at:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/13/technology/artificial-
intelligence-automation-report.html?ref=todayspaper

The New York Times <http://www.nytimes.com/>


A good summary of the report is at:

http://www.nature.com/news/track-how-technology-is-transforming-work-1.21837



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