Artificial intelligence (AI) can perform many tasks better than people can, at essentially zero cost, and will cause unprecedented job displacement, resulting in severe unemployment and potentially igniting social problems.
AI can replace routine and entry-level jobs, because it can detect incredibly subtle patterns within large quantities of data. For example, an AI algorithm can assess your insurance application far more accurately than a human underwriter.
Algorithms will displace routine white-collar work easily, and robotics will displace increasingly complex types of blue-collar work by 2041.
What AI cannot do
AI cannot create, conceptualize, or plan strategically, nor can it think across domains or apply common sense. It also cannot feel empathy or compassion, and it cannot accomplish complex physical work that requires dexterity or precise hand-eye coordination.
For jobs that are highly social but routine, humans and AI will work together, with AI taking care of grading routine homework and exams, while humans focus on teaching learning by doing, supervising group projects that develop emotional intelligence, and providing personalized coaching.
While AI will struggle to master some lines of work, there are still ways to help fulfill the basic human desire for a meaningful livelihood.
Relearn, recalibrate, renaissance
People in endangered jobs should learn new skills to prepare for a world without humans.
Vocational schools need to redesign their curricula to promote courses for sustainable jobs, and governments should provide incentives and subsidies for these courses.
The importance of human-centric service jobs will increase as wealth and life span increase, and society needs to address this oversight.
Software AI tools will revolutionize office work by devising alternatives, optimizing outcomes, or performing routine work for white-collar professionals in many fields.
AI will take care of routine tasks in tandem with humans, who will carry out the ones that require warmth and compassion.
AI will create new jobs, like Uber drivers, that we cannot even conceive of yet. We should watch for them and provide training for them.
With the right training and the right tools, we can expect an AI-led renaissance that will enable and celebrate creativity, compassion, and humanity. This renaissance will reinvent education, giving teachers AI tools to help each student find their own passions and talents.
A new social contract
Turning some of the ideas above into reality would be an unprecedented undertaking for humanity. We would need to retrain a massive number of displaced workers, raise an astronomical amount of money to fund this transition, and reinvent education to produce creative, social, and multidisciplinary graduates.
The generation that will inherit the unprecedented wealth from AI must also bear the responsibility of rewriting the social contract and reorienting our economies to promote human flourishing.
Will a bot replace Taylor Swift
A study out of China examines if AI can be taught to recognize some of the traits of music and then to compose music itself. The findings do not put composers out of work.
Putting AI music to the test
The authors suggested that an AI should be able to learn the contextual pattern of structure from analyzing music data, convert this learned structure into machine-readable parts, and copy the interplay between form and texture in music.
The researchers fed the AI the opening to Guang Yin De Gu Shi and measured how closely it could match the song's melodic segments. The AI outperformed two other music-generating AIs, but its pieces were disconnected from each other and clearly not human-made.
Researchers asked people to review the new tunes produced by the AI, and found that they were still ranked below the ones made by humans.
Taylor Swifts’ job is safe for now
The authors suggest that a future study can attempt to create an AI that can polish the music it creates.