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Public Sector Workers to be Automated Away

Walter Russell Mead

Next up on the robot kill list are public sector workers: almost 90,000 people stand to lose their jobs in Scotland alone. The Herald:

One in six public sector workers in Scotland will be replaced by a robot or machine within a decade-and-a-half, experts have predicted.

A report for Deloitte estimates that 88,000 jobs will be lost due to 'automation', with NHS, care workers and transport staff potentially in the firing line.

The NHS is planning to increase the use of technology in patient care, using monitors to check on patients at home and seeing consultations with doctors carried out through internet link.

There is also the potential for administrative roles such data entry jobs to be lost to technology, Deloitte believes, while there is the potential for driverless trains to be rolled out in future.

Great news for taxpayers, though. All through the twentieth century, governments hired growing armies of bureaucrats to make the system function. In theory, everybody should like the rise of public sector robots. Conservatives can look forward to tax cuts, while liberals can look forward to the public being able to afford more services.

Bringing higher productivity and lower costs to government ought to be the priority of politicians in both parties here in the United States. It isn’t, partly because Democrats are in hock to the public unions and the GOP hasn’t developed enough of a policy community to harness the power of the digital revolution to the problems of government bloat.

But the robots are coming, whether politicians or the union bosses are ready or not: from Nurse Ratchet to Nurse Robot. Let’s hope it’s an improvement.

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