Innovative technology typically reduces labor requirements, but self service technology appears to be not only creating new jobs but increasing productivity.
Recent reports and studies indicate that the self service industry is not only creating a multitude of high-skill and higher-pay jobs, but also fueling the U.S. economy though increased productivity and efficiency.
"The concern about kiosks ‘putting people out of jobs’ is not new; historically whenever labor-saving devices have been introduced, people worry about the impact it will have on them, but virtually all economic studies find that technologies like mall kiosks that boost economic productivity do not lead to higher levels of unemployment in the medium and long-term," said Daniel Castro, a senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a nonpartisan research group that helps formulate and promote public policies to advance innovation, productivity and digital economy issues.
On June 22, ITIF president Robert D. Atkinson testified before the U.S. Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion. Atkinson told senators that expanding the role of innovation such as self-service technology is pivotal to creating better jobs, igniting the economy and ensuring American prosperity.
"Properly conceived, innovation is not just about creating more jobs for engineers and managers in high technology industries," Atkinson told senators. "It is also about providing higher wage jobs for workers in manufacturing and low-tech services."
Due to the abundance of low-wage workforces in other nations, many labor-intensive jobs have shifted overseas, making it even more important for innovative industries such as self-service to expand, Atkinson said. He encouraged Congress to implement policies that support expansion of innovative technology and train workers for new types of jobs.
In recent years, many labor unions and other groups have voiced concern about job loss spurred by automation. For instance, author Marshall Brian, a former computer science professor who founded HowThingsWork.com, contends that self-service technology has eliminated millions of jobs in the past decade.