An article by Allison Schrager (published in Playboy–consider that a trigger warning; h/t Tyler Cowen) considers the future of work by gender. Given that industrial and manual labor will increasingly be automated, most remaining jobs for humans will be found in the service sector: nurses, waitresses, teachers, etc. These jobs are emotional work and will mostly go to women. Men, so the theory goes, will be left behind in this New Normal, and will be disproportionately unemployed.
Indeed, that does seem to be the case now–men are dropping out of the labor force faster than women. But Ms. Schrager argues that it’s not really all that bad for us males. While commodity production will, indeed, be automated and deskilled, artisanal manufacture is another story.
Compare, for example, McDonald’s and The Gunk Haus. McDonald’s is the national chain you all recognize, and their workers will undoubtedly be automated out of existence. They’ll be displaced by this robot that can make 360 hamburgers per hour, starting with fresh ingredients (e.g., unsliced tomatoes).
The Gunk Haus, meanwhile, is a gourmet restaurant, with a menu loosely based on German cuisine, that serves craft beer, along with superb, specialty hamburgers. It’s an artisanal place, completely dependent on its chef and owners. There is no way any of its employees will be replaced by a machine.
So there you have it, guys. Study your hobby, and turn it into a career. Become the artisanal tennis racket manufacturer or pool table installer. Build fine cabinets, or make violins. Whatever you do, do it well.