Prediction: The Rise of AI and Robotics Won't Drive Mass Unemployment

December 13, 2017

What does the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics portend for human workers? ITIF President Rob Atkinson argues “these technologies are no different than past technology waves, and to the extent they boost productivity that will create offsetting spending and investment, leading to offsetting job creation, with no appreciable increase in joblessness.” So Atkinson bets the U.S. unemployment rate will be under 8 percent in the year 2035.

Calum Chase, author of The Economic Singularity, disagrees. He argues that “past rounds of automation have mostly been mechanisation; now we will see cognitive automation. Machines can already drive cars better than humans, and their story is just beginning: they will increasingly do many of the tasks we do in our jobs cheaper, better and faster than we can.” Chase says, “We are unlikely to see the full impact of technological unemployment by 2035, but it should be appreciable.

Atkinson and Chace have bet $400 on this question in an accountable prediction on Long Betsa project of the Long Now Foundation. If Atkinson wins, the money will go to the Davidson Institute. If Chace wins, it will go to the SENS Research Foundation.