Why the benefits of AI and robotics outweigh the harm

We have all heard the dire predictions about robots coming to steal our jobs. Some would even have us believe these silicon bogeymen are coming to kill us. It plays straight into people’s darkest fears about technology.

When futurists talk about things that haven’t happened yet, they are free to parade educated guesses as fact. But before we take their word for it, we might remember the old adage:

… in God we trust, all others bring data.

In a recent article, the MIT Technology Review tabulated the results of “every study we could find on what automation will do to jobs”. The results show that the expected impacts depend on what you measure.

Many predictions, little agreement

Of the 19 reports considered in the review, there was enormous variation. Some predicted that a few million jobs would be replaced, while others spoke portentously of tens or hundreds of millions over similar time frames. Some were decidedly upbeat, others quite gloomy.

One futurist went so far as to forecast that a billion jobs will be lost to automation by 2022. Contrast this with the more sober prediction from the research and advisory group Gartner of 1.8 million jobs lost by 2020, but with 2.3 million created in the same period – a net increase of 500,000 over the next two years. Read more

David Tuffley - Smart Company - 21 Feb 2018


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