Many economists and technologists believe the world is on the brink of a new industrial revolution, in which advances in the field of artificial intelligence will obsolete human labor at an unforgiving pace. Two Oxford researchers recently analyzed the skills required for more than 700 different occupations to determine how many of them would be susceptible to automation in the near future, and the news was not good: They concluded that machines are likely to take over 47 percent of today’s jobs within a few decades.
It’s hard not to think of it as a small apocalypse, because that’s really what it is – 47% of jobs are going to, functionally, cease to exist.
Alarmism aside, that’s going to be creating quite a few new jobs as it goes, which will alleviate part of that problem.
And the other thing to look at is the possibility of a society in which not everyone has to work. To the average American, it sounds like a strange concept,1 but with the amount of labor being done by machines, it could well be possible.
At very least, though, it’s interesting to think about.
- Somewhere, that Twitter McCarthy bot is ranting about socialism. ↩