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“All right, we’re going to begin this hour with a question on many people’s minds these days, amid all these major developments in the field of artificial intelligence. And that question is this: How long until the machines replace us, take our jobs?”

That’s the beginning of a segment broadcast on CBS’s morning-television news show (with the headline, “Will artificial intelligence erase jobs?”) Some excerpts:

“As artificial intelligence gets better…. job security is only supposed to get worse. And in reports like this one, of the top jobs our AI overlords plan to kill, coding or computing programming is often on the list. So with the indulgence of Sam Zonka, a coder and instructor at the General Assembly coding school in New York, I decided to test the idea of an imminent AI takeover — by seeing if the software could code for someone who knows as little about computers as me — eliminating the need to hire someone like him.”

Gayle King: “So all this gobbledy-gook on the screen. That’s what people who sit in these classrooms learn?”

“And I for one was prepared to be amazed. But take a look at the results. About as basic as a basic web site can be.”

King: What do you think? You’re the professional.
Zonka: Ehh.

[Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also spoke to CBS right before the launch of its OpenAI-powered Bing search engine, arguing that AI will create more satisfaction in current jobs as well as more net new jobs — and even helping the economy across the board. “My biggest worry,” Nadella says, “is we need some new technology that starts driving real productivity. It’s time for some real innovation.]

King: Do you think it’ll drive up wages?
Nadella: I do believe it will drive up wages, because productivity and wages are related.

At the end of the report, King tells his co-anchors “In the long term, the research suggests Nadella is correct. In the long term, more jobs, more money. It’s in the short-term that all the pain happens.”

The report also features an interview with MIT economist David Autor, saying he believes the rise of AI “does indeed mean millions of jobs are going to change in our lifetime. And what’s scary is we’re just not sure how…. He points out, for example, that more than 60% of the types of jobs people are doing today didn’t even exist in the 1940s — while many of the jobs that did exist have been replaced.”

There was also a quote from Meredith Whittaker (co-founder of the AI Now Institute and former FTC advisor), who notes that AI systems “don’t replace human labor. They just require different forms of labor to sort of babysit them to train them, to make sure they’re working well. Whose work will be degraded and whose house in the Hamptons will get another wing? I think that’s the fundamental question when we look at these technologies and ask questions about work.”

Later King tells his co-anchors that Whittaker’s suggestion was for workers to organize to try to shape how AI system are implemented in their workplace.

But at an open house for the General Assembly code camp, coder Zonka says on a scale of 1 to 10, his worry about AI was only a 2. “The problem is that I’m not entirely sure if the AI that would replace me is 10 years from now, 20 years from now, or 5 years from now.”

So after speaking to all the experts, King synthesized what he’d learned. “Don’t necessarily panic. You see these lists of all the jobs that are going to be eliminated. We’re not very good at making those predictions. Things happen in different ways than we expect. And you could actually find an opportunity to make more money, if you figure out how you can complement the machine as opposed to getting replaced by the machine.”


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One Comment

  • Byron Ceron says:

    This article is really interesting and raises some important points about the potential impact of AI on jobs, particularly in the coding sphere. It’s true that AI can learn a lot of tasks faster and more accurately than humans, and it’s important to consider how this could affect the job market in the future. It’s also worth noting that AI can open up new opportunities for coders, as it can help automate mundane tasks and free up coders to focus on more complex and creative projects. It’s essential that coders stay up-to-date with the latest advances in AI and continue to develop their skills so that they can remain competitive in the job market.

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