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Robot induced technological unemployment: Towards a youth-focused coping strategy

As an agent of economic and social change, robotization has elicited considerable concern about technological unemployment. Focusing on youth, this paper makes four contributions to the debate over this labour-displacing technological change’s effects. First, to clarify the magnitude of the job threat to young people, the paper accentuates the conceptual distinction between technological unemployment and frictional unemployment. Second, the possibility of persistent technological unemployment, which the young are currently facing, is linked to strong uncertainty stemming from the rapidity of invention in robotics and artificial intelligence. Third, the paper advances a plausibility-based argument about the inevitability of technological unemployment. Fourth, coping behaviour is shown to be logically compatible with rationality and well-suited to dealing with fear of joblessness. Fifth, to the extent that robotization threatens future jobs, we maintain that coping strategies are needed to help members of the younger generation. A resilience-based strategy is suggested but we believe that there may be other coping strategies complementary to our proposal.