The automation of everything

Clime Asset Management

Labour automation is the next major disruptor to industry. While it is predicted to trigger insidious job loss across developed and developing nations, it creates an incredible opportunity for investors. By understanding which industries both spend heavily on staff and are most vulnerable to robots, investors can gain from the automation revolution. (VIEW LINK)


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Patrick Fresne

Back in the mid 19th century, someone who saw a train speeding past for the first time might have assumed that horses and carts were on the way out: a fair enough assumption, given that a steam locomotive could travel as far in an hour as a horse drawn cart could cover in a day. But in fact, demand for stablehands and carters soared in the late 19th century, due to the fact that trains made it so much cheaper and more convenient to travel, and as a result the number of travellers increased dramatically over the course of the 19th century. When all those travellers got to the end of the line, they needed horses and carts to cover the last leg of their journey, hence the increase in demand for horses and carts. My point is that the argument that robots/automation will result in mass unemployment might be overly simplistic, like someone in 1850 arguing that trains will soon send horses to the knackery.

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Damen Kloeckner

Given horse populations declined significantly from their peak around the turn of the 20th century, I'm not sure I understand your point. It should be self-evident that horse-based transportation and the jobs associated with it have fallen away dramatically. Any growth would be incidental and related to general population growth which has exploded in the last 200 years. More than that though, you are falling into a common trap which conflates the outcome of the Industrial Revolution to the impending wave of automation. Jobs will be replaced permanently, not transferred.

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Patrick Fresne

You seem to have a different investing time frame from myself and most other investors, Damen. If your mid-19th century investor had placed a punt on horse power being replaced by a some variety of horseless carriage they would have been dead long before they made any money. Investing is all about the timing, and jumping on board a theme too early is as risky as getting in too late.

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