Will robots and totally awesome computer apps lead to a new era of job creation and prosperity or will they steal jobs away from average humans leaving them addled, unemployable, and adding to our society’s income inequality?
The folks at the PewResearch Internet Project wanted to explore this question so they conducted a canvass of technology experts asking the following question (researchers called it a canvass because it was not a random survey):
Self-driving cars, intelligent digital agents that can act for you, and robots are advancing rapidly. Will networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and robotic devices have replaced more jobs than they have created by 2025?
It turns out that even people who spend most of their time thinking about technology can’t agree on the answer. The PewResearch Internet Project published the canvass results and reports that 48% of the 1,896 respondents envision a future in which these technological advances have displaced significant numbers of employees, both blue- and white-collar, thus leading to masses of people who are essentially unemployable. But, the other half, 52% to be exact, think that technology will not displace more jobs than it creates. Although this group, the report notes:
“anticipates that many jobs that currently rely on humans to perform them will be largely taken over by robots or digital agents by 2025. But they have faith that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”