|>>|| No. 5008
>The AIs we're building and looking to deploy in the workplace think distinctly different to people because the demand is in different tasks
Nobody cares about "thinking differently" or "complementary skills", they just have a business objective that needs to be satisfied - lowering costs, increasing productivity or both. Modern AIs aren't programmed but trained - we give them example inputs and outputs and the algorithm figures out how to get from one to the other.
Automation won't replace all jobs any time soon, but it's aggressively eroding the middle of the labour market. Robots struggle with varied tasks in organic environments (cleaning, waiting tables etc), they struggle with very complex creative and intellectual tasks, but everything in the middle is ripe for automation.
>This is daft, we know how to avoid economic disruption with retraining, education and nudging people into the right careers etc.
Except we don't. One in five British adults lack the literacy and/or numeracy skills expected of an eleven-year-old, a figure that has remained stubbornly high for decades. It's a cruel delusion to imagine that everyone could be a robotics engineer or a cardiac surgeon if they just put their mind to it. Some people just aren't very bright. It's not their fault, it doesn't make them bad people, but they couldn't scrape together five GCSEs to save their life.
We saw the failure of this ambition during the Blair years. We radically increased the number of people who went to university, but the number of jobs that actually require degree-level training barely changed. We thought we were upskilling the economy, but we were really just creating make-work for junior lecturers and university administrators and lumping young people with the cost.
Wages haven't gone up since 2008 because per-worker productivity hasn't gone up. An increasing share of profits goes to capital rather than labour because an increasing share of productivity is generated by capital rather than labour. The threat of automation isn't hypothetical, it's happening as we speak, we're just pasting over the cracks and hoping for the best.
Message too long. Click here
to view the full text.