Can Robots Save the U.S. Economy?

Amid a growing debate over the use of robots in the American workforce--and the resulting loss of workers' jobs--Entropy Economics president Bret Swanson argues robots aren't killing the economy, but saving it.

“There’s been a lot of doom and gloom about robots and automation and artificial intelligence," Swanson told the FOX Business Network's Stuart Varney. "But if you look at the facts, if you look at the evidence the problem isn’t that we’ve had too much technology, it’s that we’ve had too little technology across a lot of the economy in what we call the physical industries.”

But robots have powerful critics, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Co-Founder Bill Gates raising concerns about the costs of increased automation, even suggesting a robot tax to help offset the jobs lost in America to machines.  Others, including former McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) USA CEO Ed Rensi have touted the benefits of automation, telling the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo in May of 2016, “it’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who’s inefficient making $15 an hour bagging French fries.”

Swanson, whose company researches technology, innovation, and their impact on the global economy, believes an increased investment in technology and automation helps U.S. business compete better globally.

“A lot of the industries and firms that didn’t invest in technology were the ones that were the most vulnerable to foreign, low-wage competition.  The ones that did invest more actually have had better luck competing with people around the world.”