May 31, 2017

Marc Andreessen: Self-driving cars will boost the job market

Eric Risberg / AP

A future with self-driving cars has induced a lot of anxiety about a resulting loss of jobs, but in fact, they'll create tons more jobs, Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen said on Tuesday at Recode's annual conference in Southern California.

"The jobs crisis we have in the U.S. is that we don't have enough workers," said Andreessen.

Why it matters: With the country increasingly discussing the potential impact of automation and technology on the jobs, many are worried that "the robots" will take their jobs and displace millions of workers. Managing this fear and retraining workers are becoming high priority topics for lawmakers.

New jobs: When cars first came along, people were worried they'd result in the mass unemployment of those taking care of horses—like blacksmiths. But instead, cars created millions of new jobs manufacturing and maintaining them. What's more, the automobile gave rise to new activities and industries, such as going to the movies and paving roads, which created a whole set of new jobs. Self-driving cars will have the same effect, says Andreessen.

Not less, but more! Our economy's productivity growth is at its lowest, and there's not enough change and progression, says Andreessen. And this is why people are so depressed—they're not able to imagine a future. So we need more change, he adds.

The transition: With that said, "the transitions can be very painful," said LinkedIn co-founder and investor Reid Hoffman, who was on stage with Andreessen. "Let's try to make it work out in a way that's more humane."

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