It’s time for a bit of perspective. We are not facing an imminent workplace apocalypse. Not for most people in office jobs today. The real picture is not nearly as black and white. It is not going to be us versus the robots in a fight for our livelihoods-not yet anyway. Instead, now is an opportunity for us to become better at doing things by learning to work with robots. For most knowledge workers, technologies such as artificial intelligence are more likely to augment how we work rather than steal our jobs.
Automation is not the enemy
Sean Nolan
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Automation is not the enemy… For now…

By Bertrand Maltaverne

Sean Nolan, well done on your article!

I am also an "idealist" who thinks that the future of work is about 🤖️ + 👤️ = 💪️. See here.

But…

As you mention it more or less directly, it also all depends on the timeframe.

Automation is not the enemy… For now…

Automation and its consequences is not a new theme. The question of the future of work is not a new one either.

“The major domestic challenge of the 1960s is to maintain full employment at a time when automation… is replacing men.” — President John F. Kennedy
“The combination of the computer and the automated self-regulating machine is leading to a new era of production which requires progressively less human labour.” — The Ad Hoc Committee on the Triple Revolution in a memo to President Lyndon Johnson
“The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.” — President Barack Obama

And, despite that, nobody has the definitive answer.

It's all about time and speed!

“Anyone making confident predictions about anything having to do with the future of artificial intelligence is either kidding you or kidding themselves.” — Andrew McAfee

I think it is because the AI revolution is different from the previous waves of automation:

  • Speed: Moore’s law vs. our capacity to adapt, learn, change…
  • Self-sustaining/replicating: machines learn, machines make machines…
  • Breadth: it's not just one industry that is impacted; most are…

So, yes, it is not the enemy for now… but in 10, 20, 50… years? It could be an enemy we created.

“I am less concerned with Terminator scenarios. If current trends continue, people are going to rise up well before the machines do.” — Andrew McAfee

So, I believe this is up to us (workers, citizens, consumers) to influence the future and make it a sustainable one and to ensure that it is really about 🤖️ + 👤️ = 💪️!