(p. 7) As the previous generation retires from the work force, many more people will have grown up with intimate knowledge of computers. And over time, it may become easier to work with computers just by talking to them. As computer-human interfaces become simpler and easier to manage, that may raise the relative return to less-skilled labor.
The future may also extend a growing category of employment, namely workers who team up with smart robots that require human assistance. Perhaps a smart robot will perform some of the current functions of a factory worker, while the human companion will do what the robot cannot, such as deal with a system breakdown or call a supervisor. Such jobs would require versatility and flexible reasoning, a bit like some of the old manufacturing jobs, but not necessarily a lot of high-powered technical training, again because of the greater ease of the human-computer interface. That too could raise the returns to many relatively unskilled workers.
For the full commentary, see:
TYLER COWEN “TheUpshot; Economic View; The Technological Fix to Inequality.” The New York Times, SundayBusiness Section (Sun., DEC. 7, 2014): 7.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date DEC. 6, 2014, and has the title “TheUpshot; Economic View; How Technology Could Help Fight Income Inequality.” )