We have been having an interesting discussion on another thread about the place of jobs and employment in an ever-more automated world, and what the eventual outcome might be. Andrea Rossi has said recently that he is very desirous to create jobs as part of his commercialization of the E-Cat and so I posted a question on the Journal of Nuclear Physics and received a prompt reply from Rossi:
What are the kinds of jobs you hope to see created as a result of your work with the E-Cat?
Thank you for this important question. The mass production of E-Cats will generate a miscellanea of jobs: blue collars, white collars, chemical engineers, physicists, infomatics, electronic engineers…industrial E-Cats are very complex machines, demanding many integrated disciplines; I hope this work of us will be a game changer in the employment sector. I really hope that we will be able to create jobs in massive measure, directly and indirectly. I have been born as an enterpreneur, and the essence of enterpreneurship is to create jobs. Unfortunately in our present times money is made principally by means of financial speculations and it is not good, because this kind of richness is made without producing things with real value; real value can be conferred only by the work incorporated in it. In this sense we hope to help the game changing. Industry and production of real things redistributes welfare and make shared richness, while financial speculation concentrates richness in few parasitic organizations without making jobs and therefore without sharing richness. Financial speculation is the real liability of contemporary economy; is made by persons that want to earn money without producing anything useful, just making money with money, so that the money loses its original nature, which is the incorporation of work. Banks are using money to make more money in more or less borderline speculations, instead of financing the industries properly.To return to the sound economy based on the production of real things we must invent products worth to be made; the E-Cat, if it works well, can help. In the meantime the law should forbid ( really) to the banks to act as financial speculators, using the money to speculate instead of financing really productive activities that create jobs and produce shared welfare.
It’s interesting to me to see here Rossi’s philosophy of entrepreneurship — that he sees it as a vehicle to not only create a useful product, but to create ‘welfare and shared richness’ to workers.
If Industrial Heat does eventually start mass producing E-Cats, workers will certainly be needed to build, distribute, install and maintain the plants — but whether that will create jobs in ‘massive measure’ is another question. If Industrial Heat are going to create low-cost E-Cats on a large scale, there will need to be automation in place, and we remember that Rossi has often talked about ‘robotized factories’.
And at this point it is somewhat premature to speculate about the scale of job creation when we don’t know how well the first plant will perform. If it is a spectacular success, it would be a historic machine, and I would imagine demand for it will be very high. Then will be the time when we will see what kinds of jobs will be needed to enable E-Cat technology to proliferate.
UPDATE: Here’s a follow-up Q&A with Andrea Rossi on the same topic.
You have talked the necessity of bringing down the cost of E-Cat production for competitive reasons and using robotized production lines, which would reduce the role of human employees in the manufacturing process.
Do you forsee most employment opportunities surrounding the E-Cat coming on the R&D side of your operations? Or other areas?
As you well know cars are made with intense use of robots, but still carmakers are strong employers. The areas of employment are extensive, not just in R&D, but also along the production lines and all the infinite series of activity made necessary from the evolving sophistication of a product like this.