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AI Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

AI Will Create New Jobs But Skills Must Shift, Say Tech Giants (techcrunch.com) 73

AI will create more jobs than it destroys was the not-so-subtle rebuttal from tech giants to growing concern over the impact of automation technologies on employment. Execs from Google, IBM and Salesforce were questioned about the wider societal implications of their technologies during a panel session here at Mobile World Congress. From a report: Behshad Behzadi, who leads the engineering teams working on Google's eponymously named AI voice assistant, claimed many jobs will be "complemented" by AI, with AI technologies making it "easier" for humans to carry out tasks. "For sure there is some shift in the jobs. There's lots of jobs which will [be created which don't exist today]. Think about flight attendant jobs before there was planes and commercial flights. No one could really predict that this job will appear. So there are jobs which will be appearing of that type that are related to the AI," he said. "I think the topic is a super important topic. How jobs and AI is related -- I don't think it's one company or one country which can solve it alone. It's all together we could think about this topic," he added. "But it's really an opportunity, it's not a threat." "From IBM's perspective we firmly believe that every profession will be impacted by AI. There's no question. We also believe that there will be more jobs created," chimed in Bob Lord, IBM's chief digital officer. "We also believe that there'll be more jobs created.
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AI Will Create New Jobs But Skills Must Shift, Say Tech Giants

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  • by Spy Handler ( 822350 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @02:53PM (#56201811) Homepage Journal

    he seems to be everywhere these days.

    I don't suppose it's Al Bundy... unless they're talking about shoe store jobs

    • by Anonymous Coward
    • I don't suppose it's Al Bundy... unless they're talking about shoe store jobs

      After hearing some of his complaints over many years I don't think I want to work in the shoe store.

      • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @08:45PM (#56202022) Homepage Journal

        Try thinking about it this way: As productivity rises, how much work do we actually need to do?

        Analytic approach to an answer:

        Focusing on the traditional essentials, if you are lucky enough to live in an advanced society, then all your essentials for survival are created by a small number of people. Do you even know a full-time farmer? More likely you know some tailors or builders, but how much of their work is really required? For example, do you really need new clothing whenever fashion changes? In contrast, if you live in a poor society, then you and everyone you know is working long and hard just to stay alive (and you have no computer or time to read Slashdot).

        Of course it is nice if AI helps shift things in the poor countries, but it's more illuminating to consider what happens as AI improves productivity in advanced nations. We already have a surplus, so what are we going to do with more and more?

        I think it makes sense to divide the surplus into two basic classes. Investment work that further boosts productivity (which includes creating smarter AI systems) and recreational time. The funny thing about recreation is that it's bottomless. We've already passed the point where we don't have enough time to enjoy all the movies, songs, and, dare I say, books that have already been created, to say nothing of the flood of new stuff that is created every year.

        We need to dump economics and rethink things in terms of time and how we want to spend it and how we want to structure the economy so we can spend our time well...

        I could say much more, but this is Slashdot, after all. They can't even handle the error messages properly. The recent 503 Service Offline message (due to offline mode) describes itself as a 404 File Not Found message.

        • The answer to your question is "All of it".

          Work is not limited by what we need, it's limited by a combination of how badly we want something and how annoying it is to do.

          200 years ago we did not need someone to tell us what was the best wine to go with our dinner. We had wine, we had dinner, and we had people that thought too much about it. But there were not enough people willing to pay for it to be a job.

          Now, we have wine sommeliers. And they make a nice buck.

          Humans are greedy. Give us all sex-bots

          • by shanen ( 462549 )

            As flawed and broken as modern economics is, you [gurps_npc] need to start with a basic economics course. One of the first things you need to learn about is elastic versus inelastic demands. That's why the time-based perspective comes to such different conclusions (and associated different priorities) compared to conventional economics. Even human greed is limited by the time available for being greedy.

    • He is the one who will create more Jobs. Apple workers were lucky to have Jobs, but I hear they are happier now. I am concerned that my company may use Al to create more Jobs.
  • Of course there will be opportunities for us to serve the machines.

  • And, bearing in mind what they do, it's intriguing that this job still exists.
  • Industrialization was supposed to kill all the good jobs, or at least that was Thomas Jefferson's fear. Then automation. Then outsourcing. Yet, after all that, we still have jobs. Something tells me that even with the advent of AI, people will find things to do.
    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @03:07PM (#56201939)

      People will always find things to do. But will they be able to earn a living?

    • by quenda ( 644621 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @08:46PM (#56202026)

      Industrialization was supposed to kill all the good jobs, or at least that was Thomas Jefferson's fear.

      It did kill good jobs, but created good new skilled jobs. It also shifted a big chunk of the unskilled workforce from farms to factories (which may or may not have been an improvement, in different parts of the world). The trap is to assume the the same pattern will always follow.

      When the US and other developed countries sent all out manufacturing to China, etc, the economists all assured us that this would improve global efficiency, and create new high-paying jobs for the former factory workers. But this did not happen. The elite in the US have reaped all the gains, and people who once had high-paying blue-collar jobs have lost their homes and are now driving an Uber and hoping to make minimum wage.

      Middle America (working class) has been screwed over by globalisation. It was not intentional, but that's what happened.
      This is why you have a Trump in the White House. And don't think it can't get a lot worse. At least right now people do still have jobs. Shitty casual jobs.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Middle America (working class) has been screwed over by globalisation. It was not intentional, but that's what happened. This is why you have a Trump in the White House. And don't think it can't get a lot worse. At least right now people do still have jobs. Shitty casual jobs.

        Well, globalization meant a bunch of dirt cheap labor came on the market. But it's not so dirt cheap anymore. Just look at this graph [tradingeconomics.com], average wage in China: 29229 CNY/year -> 67569 CNY/year from 2008 to 2016. I found one recent forecast that says it's roughly 76300 now. If you look at the same figures for the US [tradingeconomics.com] though these are hourly not yearly it's about $17.8 -> $22.3 from 2008 to 2018. You also need to pair this up with some inflation numbers but long story short "third world manufacturing" is c

        • by quenda ( 644621 )

          , pretty soon you're approaching US minimum wage levels.

          True. But US manufacturing jobs used to pay a lot more than minimum wage, and seemed secure.

          Rising wages in China will not bring back jobs though, as automation is now the bigger problem.

        • The world is big. If China gets too expensive, there are plenty of other low-wage countries. And since your company already outsourced, it's not that hard to move to a different country.

          Textiles have mostly already moved out of China to other countries. When Vietnam gets too expensive for textiles, the factories will move to another poor country.

      • Another question no one asks (from what I've seen anyway): OK so you get new skills, but AI growth is exponential, not linear, so how long until your new kick ass skills are replaced?
    • It's more a question of economic viability. The better question is: In a world where practically everything that serves humans' base needs can be automated, will we continue to cling to capitalism and attempt to maintain our social hierarchical structure?

      The danger of automation isn't that it will necessarily destroy society. The danger is humans maintaining a form of distributive justice that is incompatible with automation.

    • Over the last few decades, technology has destroyed more jobs than it has created. You're trying to argue based on history, but in fact you're arguing against history. The recent trend has been that technology causes a net loss of jobs. That's the historical pattern. If you want to argue the future will be different from the past, you need to give reasons. Not just say "something tells me".

    • The previous automation were not general purpose automate you could train for nearly any low skilled job, whereas this is the case. Nobody which compare previous automation seem to even get what this means : there would be no new low skilled job, which COULD NOT be replaced by an AI automate when we reach that point. So what do you do ? Make people dig ditch with broken shovel and let them fill back in ?

      The second point people miss is that the transition period of the previously mentioned revolution were
  • I'll momentarily put aside the decades of unemployment and social strife following the last few industrial revolutions to ask: who's gonna pay for it?

    Who's gonna pay not only for all these workers to be retrained but to support them during that retraining? These folks had families before their jobs got automated ya know. They're also often past their prime learning years (25, 30, 40, even 50 and 60 years old) so it will take longer for them to learn. Are we going to suggest that they retrain in a few da
  • welcome our new AI overlords.
  • When you're still paying off student debt for the last set of skills you had to acquire, which are now obsolete.

  • However fast the AI becomes, it still has to work on the basis of those willing to pay for it.

    Some manager or company owner somewhere is going to decide - "hey, maybe I can use this to sell these arms to replace dishwasher teams at large restaurants."

    Then, he'd work with accountants will look at the cost of different configurations of robotic arms, toolset development, testing teams, potential market cap, cost to enter that market, marketing methods, and how easy it would be for competitors to just copy his

  • by Kincaidia ( 927521 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @03:07PM (#56201943)
    ... and my worthless opinion is that significantly more jobs will be destroyed than created. All disruptions are not the same. Air travel creating steward positions is a shit example - entirely different type of disruption. As AI moves more and more into mainstream, the jobs created will tend to be higher skilled jobs (development/maintenance/etc of the automations) and the jobs displaced will be low skills jobs (freight hauling/taxis/stocking/cashier/food preparation). Without significant assistance to gain more skills, those displaced workers will be shit out of luck.
  • jobs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @03:11PM (#56201963)
    Everyone is so sure jobs will be created, yet no one can put their finger on what jobs they will be exactly or if everyone will be capable of doing them.
  • by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @03:11PM (#56201965) Homepage
    Not the best example. Many people who now work as flight attendants would have been doing very similar work on trains or passenger ships and others would have been working in hotels. (Remember, back before there were planes, you couldn't fly several hundred miles, attend one business meeting then fly back home the same day.) And, up into the early 20th Century, there was no social stigma attached to "being in service," and a career as a servant in a wealthy family's home was considered quite respectable. Commercial air transportation didn't create a new category of job so much as changed where people did basically the same kind of work.
  • ... written by an AI.

  • shift to min masters or PHD for starting jobs

  • ... which long ago replaced a shitload of ditch diggers.

    It takes a lot of people to build a backhoe, whether that task is automated or not.

    • It takes a lot of people to build a backhoe

      No, it really doesn't. It takes far fewer people to build a backhoe than to dig all the ditches that the backhoe will dig.

      That's why backhoes are cheaper than a large number of laborers.

  • you did a good job. you're fired.
  • Over 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 50 years? The ability of AI systems will change dramatically.

    Over 5 years we can sort of predict. Self driving cars and trucks will *start* to make an appearance, as will fruit picking machines etc.

    Over 10 years it is more difficult. Lots of semi-intelligent machines running all over the place.

    Nobody has a clue about 20 years.

    Over 100 years, the AIs wont need us to program them any more, and the result is fairly easy to predict.

    My personal bet is that in the medium te

  • by Procrasti ( 459372 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2018 @09:04PM (#56202090) Journal

    > with AI technologies making it "easier" for humans to carry out tasks

    This means fewer people being worked just as hard as always, for the same pay as always. The extra created efficiency will simply mean even more pay for the executive and capitalist classes.

    New jobs will be created, but people will simply be unable to be reskilled, and so we will see generations of unemployed created, because it will be the next generations that will be able to learn the new skills.

    The extra efficiency would be beneficial for the whole of society, but only if we had a way to redistribute those gains to everyone instead of just the very few.

    A Universal Basic Income would ensure that the benefits of AI go to everyone, who can then use the money to either survive, for leisure, retraining, etc... The capitalists will still benefit, but everyone will be better off as AI advancements and disruptions occur.

  • “Think about flight attendant jobs before there was planes and commercial flights. No one could really predict that this job will appear. So there are jobs which will be appearing of that type that are related to the AI,” he said.

    In short, experts proclaim that fears about their upcoming products are plainly unfounded; though, unable to offer any tangible argument to allay those fears, they can only express blind confidence that if past changes have turned out okay before, surely this next one will too.

    It reminds me of those people who say: Hey, the climate has changed before, so you see? No big deal!

    Here, the speech becomes: We (the experts) have no idea what the future holds (because, you see, nobody can predict it!), but we are n

  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @02:04AM (#56202369)

    there are some jobs even AI's don't want to do.

  • Instead of having the displaced to be assumed to be "at-fault", consider the overly entitled employers that ask for everything yet offer not much for such talent.
  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @02:45AM (#56202453)

    ...until it is too late. Of course their statements are completely disconnected from reality and pure propaganda lies.

    I mean it is right there in their statement: "Many tasks will get easier". Result: Less people needed to do them and less pay for those that do them, as they are easier.
    Of course, the most stupid thing you can do with a threat like this is to pretend it is not there. And they are doing exactly that.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      The same glass that is half empty is also half full. Less people will be needed to do certain tasks, and less money will be spent on them doing so, but the people that re not doing those tasks anymore because they are obsolete will have time to do other things instead, which if history is any indication, are also generally higher paying jobs.
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        And that is just it: There is strong reason to believe that history is not an useful indicator this time.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )
          And what, specifically, do you think that reason actually is?
          • by gweihir ( 88907 )

            If you are blind enough to not see it, then no amount of explanation or proof will fix that. Because it is extremely obvious.

            • by mark-t ( 151149 )
              The point I was making is that if you actually think about it, you'd realize that there's no "strong reason" to expect that generalized AI will be any different than any other previous form of automation. Just making a vague generalization of "this time will be different" just because it's AI is not really substantiated by any evidence that isn't ultimately founded on either conspiracy theory or simply fear of the unknown.
  • New jobs will be created, but people will simply be unable to be reskilled, and so we will see generations of unemployed created, because it will be the next generations that will be able to learn the new skills. www.voglia.in
  • by stereoroid ( 234317 ) on Thursday March 01, 2018 @04:35AM (#56202725) Homepage Journal

    As I expected, there's a guy in that article telling people that they have to "proactively upskill". That's great: but upskill in what? The IT industry is so fragmented, it's near-impossible to pick a direction in which to upskill, Courses cost money, and doing it yourself could cost you hundreds of hours, and for what? Time and/or money wasted on a niche technology that will be out of fashion next year?

    Employers need to do more than just sit back and wait for the resumés with the skills they want to land on their desks. If you expect older employees to upskill, they need guarantees that the effort required will pay off, and not be a dead end. And no, "follow your passion" is not going to cut it. Who has "passion" for (say) yet another Javascript framework?

  • I smell BULLSHIT! . Even if AI does end up creating jobs, most of those are going to be on either the high IQ or high education variety, or both. The problem right now in the job market tends to be that there are not enough jobs for people of average intelligence with a highschool diploma to earn a living wage. If you're a crack genius with a high IQ and a masters degree in a high tech field, you likely have no problem unless you have no idea how to talk to people in a professional environment. For ever

  • we don't know, some say it will create so much more jobs that we'll have to create AI to fill them all.
    others say nobody will need to (or will be able to) work anymore and that we quickly need basic income plans before all of society crashes.

  • No one seems to ask that question. As AI rises and people get displaced why force them to work? Give them a minimum income so they can go hang gliding, fishing, work on their bowling game, spend time with their grand kids, develop the next great video game etc. I predict there will still be plenty of people building safe bridges, going into medicine, farming, etc. because they like to do it. Let's end wage slavery.

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