Experts Split On Whether Robots Coming For Our Jobs Is Bad
A Pew Research Center survey shows experts believe robots are coming in droves to eliminate jobs in popular fields by the year 2025.By Jay Strubberg | August 6, 2014
Go ahead and cue "The Terminator: Rise of the Machines" metaphors.
A Pew Research Center report shows various industry experts believe artificial intelligence or robots or digital agents are coming in droves to eliminate jobs in popular fields like healthcare, logistics and customer service by the year 2025. (Video Via NBC)
The growing influence of robots on the workforce was a common theme of the responses, but experts were divided on whether that'll be a good thing.
Of the nearly 1,900 people surveyed, 48 percent felt artificial intelligence will replace a "significant" amount of blue-and-white-collar jobs such as self-driving cars replacing cab drivers — this ultimately leading to creating greater income inequality, rising unemployment and social chaos. (Video via The Economist)
The other 52 percent were a bit more optimistic. Those experts agreed that digital agents will effectively replace much of the human workforce by 2025 — but not displace. They said the number of jobs lost will be outweighed by advances in human ingenuity — basically, humans will go into new jobs that haven't been invented yet. (Video via YouTube / MekaRoboticsVideos)
Of the large swath of opinions from the report, we pulled a couple from both sides of the argument.
U.S. Army Colonel and digital telecommunications expert David Hughes thinks "the human hand will have to be involved on a large scale. Just as aircraft have to have pilots and copilots" And Relationship Economy eXpedition founder Jerry Michalski dropped a "Harry Potter" analogy. "Automation is Voldemort: the terrifying force nobody is willing to name. The race ... is won by automation, and as long as we need fiat currency to pay the rent/mortgage, humans will fall out of the system in droves as this shift takes place."
Even SpaceX and Tesla Motors pioneer Elon Musk chimed in on the topic — but did so before the study — citing Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence" book that's made him a believer that A.I. is "potentially more dangerous than nukes."
And a writer for Re/code points out, while we've known this shift was coming for factory work for a while, humans are also being replaced in jobs that require a college degree as robots get smarter and smarter.
This survey also wasn't the first to look into a possible shift to a more automation-driven society.
Last year, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology used statistical models — rather than expert's opinions — and concluded 45 percent of American jobs will be automated in the next two decades.
The Pew Research Center survey was its fourth installment covering the rise of the machines this year alone.
This video contains images from Getty Images.