The conversation around artificial intelligence and automation seems dominated by either doomsayers who fear robots will supplant all humans in the workforce, or optimists who think there’s nothing new under the sun. But MIT Sloan professor Erik Brynjolfsson and his colleagues say that debate needs to take a different tone.
New research finds that specific tasks within jobs, rather than entire occupations themselves, will be replaced by automation in the near future, with some jobs more heavily impacted than others.
“Our findings suggest that a shift is needed in the debate about the effects of AI: away from the common focus on full automation of entire jobs and pervasive occupational replacement toward the redesign of jobs and reengineering of business practices,” the researchers write in an article published in May in the American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings. The work is by Brynjolfsson, professor Tom Mitchell of Carnegie Mellon University’s machine learning department, and Daniel Rock, a doctoral candidate and researcher at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.”
Despite what Hollywood is saying, we’re very far from artificial general intelligence. That’s AI that can just do everything a human can,” Brynjolfsson said. “We don’t have anything close to that. We won’t for decades, unless there’s some amazing breakthrough.”