Interesting quote from interesting book


From: Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by J. Kaplan

Unemployment is going to be a serious problem - but not surprisingly, because of a lack of jobs. Rather, the skills required to do the available jobs are likely to evolve more quickly than workers can adapt without significant changes to how we train our workforce. Our current sequential system of education and work - first you go to school, then you get a job - was fine when you could expect to do more or less the same thing for a living throughout your working life. But looking forward, it simply isnt going to work. The nature of the jobs available will shift so rapidly that you may find your skills obsolete just when you thought you were starting to get ahead. Our current system of vocational training, largely a holdover from medieval apprenticeships and indentured servitude, is in need of significant modernization.

I will propose an approach to this problem in the form of a new type of financial instrument, the “job mortgage”, secured exclusively by your future labour (earned income) similar to the way your home mortgage is secured exclusively by your property. Out of work? Payments are suspended for some reasonable time period, until you get another job.

In the proposed system, employers and schools will have incentives to collaborate in a new way. Employers will issue nonbinding letters of intent to hire you if you acquire specified skills, and they will get certain payroll tax breaks if they ultimately follow through. These letters of intent will serve the same purpose for job mortgage lenders as an appraisal serves for a home mortgage lender. Training institutions will have to craft their curricula around the specific skills required by sponsoring employers in order to meet the requirements of the loans or else students wont enroll. You wont be committed in advance to accepting a particular position if someone else makes you a better offer, but at least you have the comfort of knowing that you are acquiring the skills valued by the marketplace. In effect, this scheme introduces a new form of feedback and liquidity into labour markets, enforced through the discipline of the free market.