Thursday, September 11, 2014

Man vs. Machine

When Harvard Business School students were asked if they would rather hire people or use technology in relation to the labor required to run a business, most students preferred to use technology.  The implications of this article reinforce the popular idea that as technology advances blue collar jobs will slowly vanish. 

This article reminded me of the operations analysis and management section of our lecture from last week.  As we discussed the various types of production lines including job shop, worker paced, machine paced, and continuous flow.  Although these lines are equally common now, this article led me to think about the future of operations and the human labor force.  Will worker-paced lines still be relevant in 30 years? How does this issue tie into the fight for a national increase in minimum wage? It is possible that if minimum wage does increase significantly over the next few years on a national scale, more future business owners will invest in technology to replace blue collar positions. This may be another reason why the fight for a significant increase in wages would be likely to do more harm than good for lower class workers.

Additionally, is this sample of Harvard Business students representative of the next generation of business owners? Will technology eventually diminish the perceived value of human labor in society? 

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