HOUSTON, Texas - Most people like progress and innovation… but they like having a job and being able to feed their families more. So, here's a tough question for Siri: is Silicon Valley destroying communities across America?
Internet and the digital revolution have transformed the global economy and our culture, opening previously unthinkable avenues for the imagination. But there are downsides too. Let's start by stating the obvious: not every tech-savvy millennial is Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, 44% of young adults are stuck at low-skill, low paying jobs, and only 36% of college grads are making 45 grand a year or more. What "Back to the Future II" didn't predict is that the new economy is actually eliminating middle class jobs, killing mom and pop shops and outsourcing opportunities to cheaper places.
Both conservatives and liberals in Washington, DC are starting to worry about a future in which everything is automated except for unemployment.
"It's really hurting the economy when you're coming up with all these kiosks and machines that are taking away these jobs from people", expressed Walter Donahue. He recently got laid off and decided to open a cleaning service out of Katy.
Some independent store owners have been resisting this trend and fighting back for quite a while.
"The rise of the internet has given us some competition but people still want to shop in their local stores, they still want human interaction", said Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Book Shop. "Even though Amazon has a large retail presence, and not just for book stores but for other retail establishments, I think we've done a pretty good job in the nineteen years that we've been here to satisfy our customers and bring them wonderful author events and story time, and those kinds of things that you just cannot get by sitting behind a computer."
Cities like San Francisco are already unaffordable for ordinary people with ordinary incomes. The irony? It seems like there's a shortage of teachers in the Silicon Valley area, because teachers can't afford to live there. So, what's the solution? Stopping the clock is not an option. We'll need more than an app for that.