Speaking at an event of economic think tank The American Enterprise Institute earlier this week, Bill Gates proclaimed the labor market and governments are ill prepared for the big changes that are coming with the next big wave of automation. Gates said that within 20 years, a lot of jobs will be replaced by software automation and robots, especially at the lower end of the skill set.
The Microsoft co-founder isn't alone with his gloomy views for workers, in recent years more and more experts have warned that a significant percentage of the jobs we know today could become obsolete within the coming decades. This includes anything from telemarketers to accountants and retail workers, as well as waiters, lawyers, drivers, pilots, nurses and doctors.
"Software substitution, whether it's for drivers or waiters or nurses … it's progressing. ... Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. ... 20 years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model."
Gates believes that the tax codes are going to need to change to encourage companies to hire employees, including, perhaps, eliminating income and payroll taxes altogether. He's also not a fan of raising the minimum wage, fearing that it will discourage employers from hiring workers in the very categories of jobs that are most threatened by automation.