Fake News: Why It’s Good for Workplace Employment

Fake news has been circulating lately, causing a lot of concern about the public’s ability to tell truth from fiction in regards to what’s really happening in our world. It’s difficult for computers to tell what is legitimate and what isn’t, leaving it to us humans to differentiate. This means that it’s a brand new type of job that didn’t exist a few years ago.

I have blogged about this type of job-replacement phenomenon before. Experts stated that automation and robots are going to cause significant job loss, and that we better brace ourselves for future high unemployment. My argument against that theory is pretty simple: here we are almost in 2017 and the unemployment rate is at record lows, in spite of all that supposedly job-killing automation.

When doing a Google search for “Fake News Editor” no matches were found, but I’ll bet that six months from now there will be hits. That’s because the problem of fake news in the workplace is in search of a solution, and that’s what creates jobs.

Problems looking for solutions are exactly where job growth comes from. Here are a couple of prime examples:

In 1971 Howard Schultz had an idea for a new type of coffee house. One problem he encountered was finding a unique way to serve it. Result: this year Starbucks employs 190,000 Baristas, up from zero in 1971. Now that’s job creation!

Little remote helicopters started appearing in malls and Radio Shacks about 20 years ago and were great toys for kids. Since then, the technology has improved to the point where they can travel miles from the operator, go thousands of feet in the air and fly themselves home if they get lost. This causes many problems, such as occasional interferences with commercial aircrafts. To combat this issue the FAA announced new rules last August regulating their use. Result: most serious drones need to be operated by someone who’s been trained and understands the growing regulation, creating the need for Drone Operators who are lining up by the thousands to get licensed.

New technology does destroy jobs. But it has always created new ones even faster. I predict this will continue to be the case, and all this hand wringing about job loss is wasted effort. The smart manager will be using this energy to figure out how to train and retain these new types of employees.

Frank Kenna III
December 27, 2016

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