Servers Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Jobs in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Apocalyptic fiction writers may one day be proved correct: we should not underestimate humans’ abilities to inflict damage on their community, their environment, and even the entire planet. But, for now, we have a powerful new tool for enabling all people to live better lives.


WASHINGTON, DC – The world has no shortage of pressing issues. There are 1.6 billion people living in acute poverty; an estimated 780 million adults are illiterate. Serious problems are not confined to the developing world: “deaths of despair,” for example, are raising mortality among white males in the United States. Even when advanced economies grow, they are not lifting all boats. Higher-income groups thrive while lower-income households and minority groups are consistently left behind.

And now some analysts suggest that new forms of computer programming will compound these developments, as algorithms, robots, and self-driving cars destroy middle-class jobs and worsen inequality. Even the summary term for this technology, Artificial Intelligence, sounds ominous. The human brain may be the “most complex object in the known universe,” but, as a species, we are not always collectively very smart. Best-selling science fiction writers have long predicted that we will one day invent the machines that destroy us.

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