AI Is Not An Exception – Technology Has Always Taken Jobs

Mike Gualtieri
Vice President, Principal Analyst
May 12, 2017

Yes, AI will take jobs away from many workers – our relatives, friends, and neighbors. So too have all technologies created throughout human history. We invent things to make things easier and the impossible possible. The invention of the wheel made transport easier. Gutenberg’s printing press put lots of monk’s out of business. The chainsaw saw a reduction in the number of sawyers (lumberjacks). Modern medicine created a sharp decrease in snake oil charlatans. The Wang word processor annihilated typing pools. The list goes on. Technology changes how and who performs work, but it also enables new work that no one ever imagined. AI is but another technology in a long list of technologies dating back to the blunt club.

The culprit is gray matter

It is human intelligence. There is nothing that can stop it. But, it is that same gray matter that finds a way – a way for humanity to flourish – at least statistically. If life is precious, then the last hundred years have seen a dramatic increase in life expectancy. According to the National Institute On Aging, the most dramatic and rapid gains have occurred in East Asia, where life expectancy at birth increased from less than 45 years in 1950 to more than 74 years today.

AI will short-term replace workers just as all technology has, but longer term it will raise wages as human workers become exponentially more productive because their efforts are augmented by intelligent machines – non-human servants.

We can go back or we can go forward. Let’s go forward.

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