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GE employee works on a locomotive engine (Christopher Matthews/Axios)

General Electric is going all in on futuristic manufacturing, having ditched businesses like finance and network television to focus on building stuff like jet engines and gas turbines. Here's what CEO Jeff Immelt thinks about automation and the future of work:

  • He thinks fears of robot-driven joblessness are overblown, even as he invests billions in automation: "This notion of the war of the robots happening in the short term, that's more of a Silicon Valley vision than the real world."
  • Robots are making Americans richer: Businesses can only pay workers more if they become more productive, and automation allows humans to focus on more valuable tasks.
  • It's not just technology, but politics that drive automation: "The question of the last election was, 'how do you create $25 per hour jobs?" Immelt argues. In a global economy, jobs that don't require trained workers to leverage the power of computers and automation simply won't pay that well.
  • All business will be in the education business: Immelt says that GE and firms like it must do more to train workers to rise above tasks that robots can do, "not because we're bleeding hearts, but because we're good at it."

Go deeper

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

Distrust in political, media and business leaders sweeps the globe

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Trust in government is collapsing, especially in democracies, according to a new global survey.

Why it matters: People also don't think media or business leaders are telling them the truth, and this suspicion of multiple societal institutions is pushing people into smaller, more insular circles of trust.

Great Resignation boosts White House's tech talent hunt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration wants to capitalize on the Great Resignation to fill thousands of expected government tech and cybersecurity jobs.

Why it matters: The administration wants to remake how government websites deliver services and improve the nation's cybersecurity, but it will need skilled workers to make it happen.