A New Film Urges Americans to Start SERIOUSLY Worrying About Unemployment (Video)
Robots, immigrants, and low-wage workers in other countries have all been scapegoated as potential threats to America’s employment. And sometimes for good reason. Automation and artificial intelligence have already taken away thousands of jobs from U.S. employees of the human kind – in factories, on computers, and even at Uber. Though happening at a rate blown far out of proportion (by the likes of President-Elect Donald Trump and others), there are immigrants who come to the United States willing to take low-paying jobs at even lower pay than their American counterparts, effectively decreasing the amount of Americans in industries that include manual labor, child care, and more. Similarly, plenty of American businesses have outsourced their customer service and other departments to countries like India, taking away thousands of jobs away from people stateside. But regardless of which aspect of America’s employment crisis one chooses to focus on, one thing remains clear: there are far too many people out of work in the United States, and something must be done.
In a new animated short film, unemployment in America is examined with a humorous yet straightforward slant, and it is eye-opening. Slope of the Curve is directed by Academy Award nominee Marshall Curry, a documentarian whose works have covered everything from political campaigns to eco-terrorism. This time around, however, he has placed the struggles of the American workforce in his crosshairs, and with the help of a nonprofit, he has brought the issue to life. In conjunction with WorkingNation – which describes itself as an organization which “exists to expose hard truths about the looming unemployment crisis and bring the country together to create new jobs for a changing economy” – the film premiered in September but it has taken on new implications in the wake of the recent presidential campaign.
Narrated by Anthony Anderson, the film is described by WorkingNation as explaining “in a digestible way how the U.S. jobs market is rapidly changing as a result of advances in technology, automation, and other factors, and why it’s so important for everyday Americans to begin preparing now for an uncertain future” while it “digs into the factors contributing to the growing employability gap in the United States and illustrates the impact it’s already having – and is poised to have – on millions of middle class lives.” As such, the film covers humankind’s lifelong development of tools to make jobs easier, progressive steps that are now proving themselves to be causing us harm. “Each new development came at a cost; when bronze tools were invented, all the guys who made stone tools were driven out of work,” says Anderson, humorously addressing a very real trend we continue to experience today. “This process continues today. Only now, it happens faster. Much, much faster,” the film warns.
But it isn’t just technological advances that we should be concerning ourselves with. Globalization is another major factor and, according to the film, “it’s making it easier for companies to move jobs overseas, where wages are lower and regulations are less stringent.” In the past 20 years alone, technology and globalization have “wiped out millions of American jobs in manufacturing, from Detroit’s auto plants, to North Carolina’s textile mills,” Anderson recounts. Manufacturing is not the only industry in which jobs are quite literally disappearing, either. “We are now entering a new phase where high-skilled jobs are also at risk,” warns the film. In the last fifty years, computer processing power has “roughly doubled every two years,” which means computing jobs that are today carried about by Americans will tomorrow be carried out by artificial intelligence.
An Oxford University study cited by the film predicts that, in 20 years, 47% of all jobs are at risk of being replaced by technology, which means 70 million people will be out of work. Are you one of them?