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02/06/2021

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Working in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, I can definitely see this trend occur firsthand. Previously, operators would be personally opening plasma bottles in a relatively more risky process. There's been a strong movement towards automated plasma bottle opening throughout the Global network. On the surface, it's because of operator safety, but managers on the back end are enjoying the savings from headcount reduction.

I believe the inequality due to automation is occurring due to failed government policy and strong corruption on the part of both poorer and rich nations.

As far as poorer nations go, they have ample opportunity to modernize and take advantage of automation as part of their competitive advantage in trade. Take Lebanon for example, a country that has yet to offer 24/7 electricity or water since it's civil war ended nearly 31 years ago. 5-years ago, fiber optic cables were laid out across the country however, as of today, the cables were still being "inspected" (i.e., government officials were looking for sources of bribe money in order to turn on the fiber optic internet and issue an operating license). Ample AI and robotic technologies would have been built had the internet been turned on, however corrupt politicians and their followers are directly to blame for the inequality and poor conditions - not automation.

In the US for example, although we have no UBI, I believe that we will start to see something similar to the COVID relief payments sent directly to truck drivers for example who lose their jobs due to automation. Additionally, I do believe that if truck drivers all become unemployed, you would see some sort of taxation that would support some sort of job or payment system to the truck drivers. However, without any government action, things will not end very well.

I agree with the sentiment that the pandemic somehow accelerated cloud adoption and automation by at least 5-10 years, and it will like lead to greater inequalities. As we discussed in the last week's class, we as a society will need to evolve in taking care of who are left behind. Maybe government policies will not be enough. I think a part of increased consumption behavior has accelerated this divide as well. As you referred to in the blog about US China trade war verdict, higher consumption is a key factor in trade deficit, I think higher consumption is also a key factor in increasing the income inequality.
Growing up in rural India, I had seen how saving prone Indian society was, but with economic growth more and more people have been pulled into middle class, and so have their consumption habits. Good for us, but rising prices have also made it harder for those who aren't able to afford as much consumption.

Indeed all three of you are absolutely correct. This is one theme of Module 10 also so stay tuned...

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