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GE's Jeff Immelt: Robots won't kill human jobs

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."
Axios 3 hours ago
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Jonathan Swan 3 hours ago
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Trump's "great man" play

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

President Trump views the North Korean crisis as his “great man” of history moment.

The big picture: He came into office thinking he could be the historic deal maker to bring peace to the Middle East. He’s stopped talking about that. There’s very little point. The peace deal looks dead and cremated. But Trump wants to sign his name even larger into the history books, and he views North Korea as his moment.