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AI Expert Warns Automation Could Take 40% of Jobs by 2035

by Axios | 1.10.19

Forty percent of the world’s jobs could be done by machines as soon as 15 years from now, one of the world’s foremost experts on artificial intelligence, venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, tells Scott Pelley on the coming edition of "60 Minutes."

What he's saying: "AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue collar work, but a lot of white collar work. ... Chauffeurs, truck drivers — anyone who does driving for a living — their jobs will be disrupted ... in the 15- to 25-year time frame."

"Many jobs that seem a little bit complex — chef, waiter, a lot of things — will [also] become automated," Lee continues.

  • "I believe [AI] is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity."

I asked Axios future editor Steve LeVine how we should think about this.

  • "Mike, yes this is credible," Steve emails. "It's the baseline consensus."
  • "The question then becomes can our societies train and retrain these workers — often in entirely different professions — fast enough to prevent a Gilded Age-style worker crisis."
  • "Since we have barely begun even talking about this, there are doubts and profound worries."

Go deeper: How the robot revolution is changing our lives

Photo: Xinhua/Chen Junqing via Getty Image

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(46)
  • burrkitty
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    I think that is a lowball estimation, but whatever. Humans rapidly change the world. That is the one constant of humankind, almost our defining trait. We change things. That’s the way it is. We don’t bemoan the loss of typesetting do we? Or the Cartwright? Or the weaver? Or the flint knapper? Professions die. New ones are born. There will always be work. It’s just the nature of work changes. Learn to adjust. PS Universal basic income is going to be a thing. It’s a near inevitable outcome of automation. Adjust your mind to that idea now.

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  • Stephen
    Voted Happy
    01/10/2019
    ···

    AI is coming, the American people would be short sighted to see this as bad news. What will slow down progress are government leaders getting in way of an opportunity to change our society for the better with the creation of new better skilled jobs and opportunities to live life with more meaning and purpose. Stop living in the past, look to the future! If America does not take the lead, China and India will

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  • Jennifer
    01/10/2019
    ···

    This can’t be true...Trump said Mexicans are taking American jobs.

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  • Kat
    Voted Sad
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Seen this coming since the 90's. It's sad for the employees who r getting replace by machines. Even though we enjoy most of the technology. We had to see this day coming 😣. Hoping they can go back to school.

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  • Lionman
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Automation will be most problematic, when we place profits above people. Business needs to return to a moral and ethical mindset. When a company does the Right Thing, then it will have profits as a byproduct.

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  • Jim
    01/10/2019
    ···

    This is what Yuval Noah Harari, author of “Sapiens”, has been talking about, not only that it will happen but that we will have to find meaning in life outside of our work. Even people who have jobs in 2035 will face obsolescence and will require retraining. Our children and grandchildren may have 4-5 totally different careers in their lifetime. Things are a changing.

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  • Josh
    Voted Sad
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Jobs are already on the decline. The level of care for customer service with it when out in the hands of a computer. Just listen to automated phone calls and trying to get support via phone. Those things are annoying. Hire people an customer service will improve.

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  • eliyak
    Voted Happy
    01/10/2019
    ···

    I hope so. That will bring down the cost of everything and result in general wealth, while ending the necessity of manual labor and its dangers. And yes, there will always be enough jobs. They will just be more oriented towards services, including the arts and education, and the creation of high-end luxury goods.

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  • Sharon
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    I think technology is moving so fast that it is not allowing for thoughtful contemplation and debate about the complex effects on humans, society, and economies or for the development of ethical guidelines. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. AI, like genetics, is very powerful. Neither should be carelessly deployed without considering long term second and third order effects or the law of unintended consequences from micro and macro perspectives. For example, I don’t know that there has been sufficient debate and common consensus about the boundary between automaton and sentient being when it comes to “using” AI.

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  • Rebecca
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    AI will fund a guaranteed minimum income, no?

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  • Robert
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    In 2017 The government of Germany conducted a two year study on the effects of AI on the global workforce. They concluded that by 2050 AI will replace 59% of the global workforce. They also concluded that a basic guaranteed income would be necessary. It should be noted Finland has already done this

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  • Isaac
    Voted Happy
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Less humans toiling in manual labor careers? Sign me up! I do understand though that people really do value their work and that having it taken over by a machine does make one feel like they are just another cog in the machine of life. I do expect, and you should expect as well, heavy political resistance from the both the Right and Left on this.

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  • Sandra
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Some jobs, SHOULD be automated....like those that would pose a danger to humans and could be handled by robotics....but self driven cars....What?....my self adjusting seat belt works defectively 1/3 of the time...I certainly would NOT want to be going down a highway at 70mph when my car decides to lock up its brakes...also, "wait staff"...NO on that one, we need to keep some of the niceties and being served dinner once on a while is like a tiny vacation besides, people feel the best about themselves when they have created something or accomplished something...work for your hands to provide for your family is one of these things.

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  • Robert
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    I’ll be so old...I’ll probably need AI to “take care” of me🤗

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  • Curt
    Voted Sad
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Get rid of AI.

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  • Bmarkis
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    But what will this mean for workers forced out of their industries as well as how will this effect the jobs available to people? It is time we start taking some serious looks at what industries we can encourage people to go into as well as a universal basic income as more and more jobs are becoming obsolete with no replacement in sight.

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  • Bernie
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    So what then happens to all of the immigrants whose jobs are replaced? They go perpetually on benefits and become indentured servants of the Democrat party at best and revolutionary malcontents at worst.

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  • David
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    This is likely for existing jobs. What new jobs will be created remains to be seen. A bigger question is that can the wealthiest open up their pocketbooks to enable people to grow into those jobs or will greed prevail and poverty become more pervasive. We are at a crossroads.

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  • Milan
    Voted Happy
    01/10/2019
    ···

    Read this and maybe things won’t seem so bad :). https://harpers.org/archive/1932/10/in-praise-of-idleness/ Also - our planet may choose to shed humans at some point so it may not matter

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  • David
    Voted Apathetic
    01/10/2019
    ···

    When was the last technological advances in production kept out of the market? Why? Because, when making a purchase, people think only of the price. Not jobs.

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