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FROM THIS EPISODE

From farms to factories, and now to the service economy, human workers are losing their jobs to machines. The "creative destruction" that used to increase employment is working the other way around, and productivity is on the rise. As computers become more sophisticated, how can humans learn to compete? Also, President Obama announces executive action on student loans, and an undeclared, loaded gun fell out of a bag being loaded onto an airliner in Los Angeles. What did the TSA say? None of its business.

Banner image: A traveler undergoes a full body scan performed by Transportation Security Administration agents at the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Race Against The Machine

Erik Brynjolfsson

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Sonya Geis
Karen Radziner

Main Topic Is a Robot Waiting for your Job? 36 MIN, 46 SEC

When two researchers at MIT started a book to be called The Digital Frontier, they were optimistic that technological innovation would increase productivity, and that would mean new jobs. Historically speaking, that has been the case. But their inquiries led in a very different direction. In the current recession it's the other way around: more productivity but fewer jobs. "Technological unemployment" has gone from the factory floor to America's service economy, once called "the last repository" of jobs. This time, the old jobs aren't being replaced by new ones.  From banks to gas stations to grocery stores, information technology is taking a heavy toll. Google has shown that a computer can drive a car.  What can we do to protect our species from losing the race with machines?

Guests:
Andrew McAfee, MIT Center for Digital Business
Darrell West, Brookings Institution (@DarrWest)
Harold Meyerson, Washington Post (@haroldmeyerson)
Marshall Brain, HowStuffWorks.com

Reporter's Notebook Loaded Guns in Checked Bags on Flights? 6 MIN

On Sunday, a loaded .38-caliber handgun fell out of a duffle bag being placed into the baggage compartment of an Alaska Airlines flight from LA, California to Portland, Oregon. It was turned over to airport police and the owner, who had not declared it, was allowed to take a later flight. Air travelers are familiar with pat-downs, limits on liquids and full-body scans. But while the Transportation Security Administration does not allow passengers to carry firearms onto airplanes, the TSA says guns in checked baggage are not its responsibility. Abby Sewell reports for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times (@sewella)

Making News President Obama Announces Executive Action on Student Loans 7 MIN, 17 SEC

With the President's jobs bill dead in the Senate, he's been telling audiences about smaller measures he can take on his own. Today, at the University of Colorado's campus in Denver, it was a new program to lower payments on student loans. This, he said, would give students increased economic certainty while giving our economy a must-needed boost. Tamar Lewin is higher education reporter for the New York Times.

Guests:
Tamar Lewin, New York Times (@tamarnyt)

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