“The future of work is now,” says Moshe Vardi. “The impact of technology on labor has become clearer and clearer by the day.”
Machines have already automated millions of routine, working-class jobs in manufacturing. And now, AI is learning to automate non-routine jobs in transportation and logistics, legal writing, financial services, administrative support, and healthcare.
Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University, recognizes this trend and argues that AI poses a unique threat to human labor.
Initiating a Policy Response
From the Luddite movement to the rise of the Internet, people have worried that advancing technology would destroy jobs. Yet despite painful adjustment periods during these changes, new jobs replaced old ones, and most workers found employment. But humans have never competed with machines that can outperform them in almost anything. AI threatens to do this, and many economists worry that society won’t be able to adapt.
“What people are now realizing is that this formula that technology destroys jobs and creates jobs, even if it’s basically true, it’s too simplistic,” Vardi explains.