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Sovazky Lee
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Sovazky Lee   My Press Releases

Love And Compassion Will Save Us When Technology Takes Our Jobs

Published on 4/17/2018
For additional information  Click Here


But only if we figure out a way to adequately compensate jobs–like teachers and caretakers–that require these traits.

As artificial intelligence swiftly creeps into the mainstream, it will take over jobs. A lot of them, mostly those that are repetitive and require not a lot of creativity. The first to go will be things like data analysis and retail operations, followed by more complex endeavors like driving. The advent of AI is often discussed as something of a selective guillotine falling on our employment ecosystem: Either your job is knocked out, or its spared. But Kai-Fu Lee, a former Google, Apple, and Microsoft employee turned venture capitalist with a speciality in artificial intelligence, sees a more humanistic way to integrate AI into our economies.

Lee, during the height of his career, put work above all else, he tells the audience at TED 2018 in Vancouver. He nearly left his wife’s side as she was giving birth to their daughter in order to give a presentation on early AI in 1991, and it wasn’t uncommon for him to work what in China is called “9/9/6”–from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week. As he worked on artificial intelligence systems, he thought of them as ways to streamline routine work to create more room for innovation, and his job, as one of the early developers of these technologies, was to innovate faster and better to support this future. That changed when Lee was diagnosed with stage-four lymphoma several years ago. He was given just several months to live, and as he underwent chemotherapy, he read books on how people approached the end of life. “Facing death, nobody regretted that they didn’t work hard enough,” Lee says. He’s now in remission, but his experience with life-threatening illness caused him to think about work in new ways.

“What’s more serious than the loss of jobs is the loss of meaning,” Lee says. “Love is what differentiates us from AI.” And when AI begins to replace routine jobs, Lee says we need to focus our energies on creating more jobs that require love and compassion–jobs like caretakers, teachers, social workers, and tour guides, in addition to those jobs like research analyst, artist, scientist, and CEO that we’ve already largely determined will survive the AI takeover due to the necessity of strategizing and creativity, which deep learning can’t mimic.

It’s a nice idea, and certainly true–we’re facing a shortage of teachers, whose jobs will be crucial in bolstering young peoples’ abilities to participate in modern economies, and caretakers for the elderly will become ever more important as lifespans extend. But the jobs that Lee cited during his talk as replacements for those made redundant by AI are notoriously underpaid, and often lack critical benefits like health care (at least in the United States). If we’re going to follow Lee’s recommendation, we should be sure to do so alongside implementing stronger financial securities for people working these jobs–ideally, in the form of a universal basic income and universal benefits.

Automation will make a universal basic income necessary soon why universal basic income will soon be a political necessity as a result of automation. “There will be fewer and fewer jobs that a robot cannot do better. I want to be clear. These are not things I wish will happen; these are things I think probably will happen. And if my assessment is correct and they probably will happen, than we have to think about what are we going to do about it? I think some kind of universal basic income is going to be necessary. The output of goods and services will be extremely high. With automation there will come abundance. Almost everything will get very cheap. I think we’ll end up doing universal basic income. It’s going to be necessary. The much harder challenge is, how are people going to have meaning? A lot of people derive their meaning from their employment. So if there’s no need for your labor, what’s your meaning? Do you feel useless? That’s a much harder problem to deal with.”


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