Last evening, I interviewed the authors of the new book, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the age of AI, at an Aspen Institute event in New York. The book is well worth reading. While most discussions of this topic focus on potential lost jobs or apocalyptic scenarios, these authors—Accenture’s Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson—see the glass as decidedly more than half full. The benefits of the new technology, and the jobs it will create, they argue, more than offset any downsides or jobs lost.
But Daugherty and Wilson do foresee a significant challenge in retraining workers for the new jobs that technology will create. Government, they say, is not focused on that challenge, and business is not doing enough to meet it. Moreover, an education system built around four-year degrees may not be up to a new world requiring continuous retraining in new skills.
Interestingly, they said the majority of new jobs will not be strictly technical in nature, but rather will focus on ensuring smart and responsible use of AI—the training, explaining, and sustaining of the algorithms. Such jobs will require some basic level of understanding of the new technology, but also human judgement and empathy to both guide it and explain it to those it affects.
Daugherty also commented on the day’s big news story—Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress about his responsibility for the use, and misuse of Facebook data. (Read our story, The Seven Most Awkward Moments from Zuckerberg’s Testimony, here.) This is a teachable moment, he said, because in the age of AI, virtually every big company will find itself where Facebook is today—being held responsible for how it collects and uses the data that drives its business.