What if robots take our jobs?

Robots are becoming more sophisticated and common, and consequently they will inevitably displace a large number of workers (they have already done so). But historically, while technological progress generally resulted in painful transitory periods, in the long run it was always for the better. The question is whether this will remain the case.

Recently, even middle class jobs were replaced by machines because of the IT revolution. This might exacerbate inequality as the upper classes and those who can adapt to the new technologies will be able to reap the benefits of higher productivity (thanks to machines), but others will lose their jobs or will be forced to lower paying positions. Until now, for the most part new jobs have been created for the displaced workers in various industries. But what if this ceases to continue? What if labor gets replaced by robots and no new labor-intensive jobs arise?

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Hedonic pricing for laptops

I read an interesting article about hedonic pricing and I thought I’d try this out for some product. Hedonic pricing refers to breaking down a product into features and evaluating how much each of those features contribute to a product’s overall price. As a result, you’ll be able to see which features are valued most by consumers. This can help with pricing new products, but possibly it can also reveal in which area R&D activity should be concentrated.

In this post I’ll present the results of a simple hedonic pricing exercise I did for laptops. I evaluated the 101 most popular laptops (the first roughly 20 from each of the laptop price categories) on Amazon according to screen size, CPU, memory, hard drive size, GPU and two other features (1. does it have a touchscreen?, 2. is it a Mac?).

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