AI to Create More Jobs Than It Destroys?

The perennial fear surrounding new technologies is that (human) workers will be permanently displaced, swelling the ranks of the unemployed (or unemployable). In the past, however, technological developments have tended to create new opportunities that enable more jobs rather than fewer. Artificial intelligence (AI)—although it is unlikely to ever reach the same level of human intelligence despite what Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking think—is probably no exception. Writing at ZDNet, Steve Ranger said, “Fears that artificial intelligence will munch through our job prospects and leave us slumped on the scrap-heap may be overblown, according to tech chiefs.” He added that “when asked whether they thought the emergence of artificial intelligence would have negative consequences for employment, the ZDNet/TechRepublic panel of tech decision makers voted ‘no’ by a margin of eight to four, providing a slightly different take on the consequences.”

Any intelligence—meaning the conscious, free, self-aware kind that humans demonstrate—has an immaterial aspect that cannot be reproduced by piling on more transistors. But computers, although dumb machines, can mimic intelligence in many ways and perform numerous tasks, some better than humans. The result of increasing participation of machines in the economy is not elimination of employment, but transfer through “creative destruction.” Some industries naturally suffer from innovation, but others benefit, usually with a net improvement.

Unfortunately, today’s technological development is concurrent with a lousy economic climate (despite what the stock market says) in which job creation has suffered generally. The impression, then, is that “this time is different”: innovation will reduce rather than increase employment. If only some AI could tell us how to overcome the expanding debt bubble.

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About Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark is editor for the Data Center Journal. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Richmond, as well as master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech. An author and aspiring renaissance man, his interests range from quantum mechanics and processor technology to drawing and philosophy.

Source: AI to Create More Jobs Than It Destroys?

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