The New Division of Labor:
How Computers Are Creating the
Next Job Market
PISA 2009 -ERA
Science and Mathematics Officer
BASQUE INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH AND
EVALUATION IN EDUCATION
ON MARCH 22, 1964, THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE TRIPLE
Revolution sent a fourteen-page memorandum
to President Lyndon Johnson
The signers included chemist Linus Pauling
(recipient of two Nobel Prizes),
economist Gunnar Myrdal (a future
Nobel Prize-winner), and
Gerard Piel, publisher of Scientific American.
A new era of production has begun
• Its principles of organization are as different from
those of the industrial era as those of the
industrial era were different from the agricultural.
• The cybernation revolution has been brought
about by the combination of the computer and
the automated self-regulating machine.
• This results in a system of almost unlimited
productive capacity which requires progressively
less human labor.
• Cybernation is already reorganizing the economic
and social system to meet its own needs.
It involves rethinking education and training,
beginning with answering four fundamental questions:
• What kinds of tasks do humans perform better than
• What kinds of tasks do computers perform better than
• In an increasingly computerized world, what well-paid
work is left for people to do both now and in the
• How can people learn the skills to do this work?
In 1970, more than one-half of employed U.S. adults worked in
two broad occupational categories:
• blue-collar jobs and clerical (white)jobs
• Few people got rich in these jobs, but they
supported middle- and lower-middle-class living
and many were open to high school graduates.
• Today, less than 40 percent of adults have blue-
collar or clerical jobs and many of these jobs
require at least some college education.
• The computerization of work has played a
significant role in this change.
In the past, when new technologies have replaced workers in a given
sector, new sectors have always emerged to absorb the displaced
• Today, all three of the traditional sectors of the economy--
agriculture, manufacturing, and service--are experiencing
technological displacement, forcing millions onto the
• The only new sector emerging is the knowledge
sector, made up of elite
entrepreneurs, scientists, technicians, computer
programmers, professionals, educators, and consultants.
• While this sector is growing, it is not expected to absorb
more than a fraction of the hundreds of millions who will
be eliminated in the next several decades in the wake of
revolutionary advances in the information and
VARITIES OF HUMAN INFORMATION PROCESSING
Conscious Application of Rules Cannot be
Application of Inductive Rules Articulated
(Rules- Based Logic) (Pattern Recognition) (Pure Pattern Recognition)
Arithmetic, Predicting a Mortgage Writing a Legal Brief,
Boarding Pass a Truck Driver making a
Recognizing left turn against traffic.
Recognizing a Spoken
What Skills are Now Required?
Solving problems for which there are no rule-based solutions.
•Diagnosing the illness of a patient whose symptoms seem
•Creating a good tasting dish from the ingredients that are fresh in the market
•Repairing an auto that does not run well but that the computer diagnostics
report has no problem.
These problems require what we have called pure pattern recognition –
information processing that cannot now be programmed on a computer.
Interacting with humans to acquire information, to
explain it, or to persuade others of its implications for action.
•Manager motivating the people whose work she supervises
•A sales person gauging a customer’s reaction to a piece of clothing,
•A biology teacher explaining how cells divide,
•An engineer describing why a new design for a DVD player is an advance over previous
Routine Cognitive Tasks.
Mental tasks that are well described by deductive or
• Maintaining expense reports
•Filing new information provided by insurance customers
•Evaluating applications for mortgages.
Because these tasks can be accomplished by following a set of rules,
they are prime candidates for computerization.
Routine Manual Tasks.
Physical tasks that can be well described using
deductive or inductive rules.
•Installing windshields on new vehicles in automobile assembly plants
•Counting and packaging pills into containers in pharmaceutical firms.
Since these tasks can be defined in terms of a set of precise, repetitive
movements they are also candidates for computerization.
Non-routine Manual Tasks:
Physical tasks that cannot be well described as
following a set of If-Then-Do rules because they require optical recognition
and fine muscle control that have proven extremely difficult to program
computers to carry out.
•driving a truck
•cleaning a building
•setting gems in engagement rings.
Computers do not complement human effort in carrying out most such tasks.
As a result, computerization should have little effect on the percentage of the
workforce engaged in these tasks.
Economy-Wide Measures of Routine and Non-Routine Task Input: 1969 - 1998
(1969 = 0) (pag . 14)
Mean task input as percentiles of the 1960 task distribution
60 Nonroutine manual
1960 1970 1980 1990 2002
(Levy y Murnane)
Secondary graduation number in the future
China EU India US
PISA 2009 -Electronic Reading Assessment
Reading of electronic texts is becoming increasingly necessary and prevalent in
PISA recognises this and has integrated the reading of electronic texts into the
PISA 2009 Reading Framework.
The Electronic Reading Assessment (ERA) is an innovative
Electronic Reading Assessment
project aiming at assessing the reading literacy of 15-year-olds using electronic
It is an international option in PISA 2009. ERA is a 30-minute test using existing
school IT infrastructure.