Economic Applications - Inequality, Automation and Trade

Why is robotics currently a big topic?
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Earnings inequality is rising, middle and low incomes are coming closer together, typical middle class incomes fall - relative to high ones. There's polarisation of the labour market, middle class jobs disappear in favour of either good or bad jobs, i.e more janitors and waiters on low end and more professionals etc on high end, loss of typical skilled worker.
Wage inequality has increased, there was a sharp rise in the 1980's. There's been polarisation of middle class jobs. This fact suggests that the ultimate driver is not political changes, but something more fundamental.
These increases in inequality have been more pronounced and quicker in economies with unregulated labour markets. It is later and weaker in countries like Germany.
This fact suggests that policy can have a moderating role.
Trying to understand increases in inequality and the role of technology started with the idea that technological progress is good for high-qualified workers and bad for low-qualified workers. This was an okay first shot but it falls short as jobs such as truck drivers, barbers and cleaners hasn't changed a huge amount since the 1950s. The work of factory workers, craftsmen and accountants has.
At the core of this approach is the distinction between tasks and jobs:
Tasks are the things that need to be done to produce a good or service, e.g fixing mirrors to cars.
Tasks can be done by domestic workers, machines, or foreign workers.
Task machines may be complements for some or substitutes for others.

Jobs are a combinations of tasks, i.e firms combine several tasks (usually related) into a job and then try and hire someone to do this job.
Routine tasks like record filing are easier to change, e.g computers are good at routine tasks, everything can be pre-coded.
Non-routine tasks such as cleaning, driving etc are comparatively hard to replace by computers.
For tasks such as research, machinery will help productivity. They complement the task.