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Preparing for a future without human work will require more than addressing basic financial needs. Is artificial intelligence coming for your job? While some reports suggest nearly half of all jobs may be automated, other analyses note two important nuances. The first is that AI creates as well as replaces jobs. AI systems still need humans to develop them, handle nonroutine cases, provide a human touch, and monitor for failures. New technologies can also sometimes create entirely novel jobs - like social media influencer. A second nuance is that - at least for the foreseeable future - AI systems will only be able take over specific tasks rather than entire jobs. One report estimated what while 60% of all jobs have at least some tasks that could be automated, only 5% are under threat of full automation. And, as AI excels at routine tasks, it can free up humans for more interesting challenges. This augmentation-rather-than-automation approach offers the best opportunities for not only preserving employment but also ensuring effective and valuable AI. Actively involving workers in the development, adoption, and implementation of the technology can result in systems that are more practical, innovative, and effective. Even with an augmentation approach, however, AI systems will result in potentially significant job disruptions - and call for a rethinking of education, employment, and policy systems. While technology skills would seem a worthwhile investment focus, there is also a need for general skills that can improve employment adaptability - such as critical thinking, and the skills that AI struggles with replicating such as creativity, human touch, and emotional intelligence. It is not certain whether human work will eventually disappear, but two features of the current situation are particularly troubling. The first is prevalent wealth inequality both within and between countries. If AI does lead to widespread job displacement, extreme inequality could lead to disastrous outcomes. The second is the central role that work plays as a source of personal worth and meaning in many societies. One popular proposed solution to a future without work is a universal basic income, where people receive regular payment regardless of employment. While such a program might address financial need, truly preparing for a future without work requires a deeper reinvention of human identity.

AI and the Future of Jobs


Artificial Intelligence (AI)