Lawmakers Should Support Artificial Intelligence While Better Equipping Workers for Transitions, ITIF President Rob Atkinson Testifies to California Little Hoover Commission

January 25, 2018

WASHINGTON—In testimony today before the California Little Hoover Commission public hearing on the workforce impacts, policy challenges and social benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), Information Technology and Innovation Foundation President Rob Atkinson called on state leaders to take steps to support AI development and adoption, while improving state systems for helping workers make transitions between jobs and occupations. As part of his written testimony, Atkinson issued the following statement:

History, logic, and economic analysis all strongly point to the conclusion that the next technology wave, powered by artificial intelligence and robotics, will not lead to above average unemployment levels and that we will not run out of work.

What it could do, however, is significantly improve labor productivity growth rates, making society better off, and boosting per-capita incomes for virtually all Americans.

Policymakers should not give in to the rising techno-panic over AI or take steps to slow down AI progress. Rather, they should take steps to support AI, including by using AI much more extensively within government operations.

But while the next wave of innovation won’t create mass unemployment, it will likely increase labor market churn. That makes it essential for states and the federal government do a much better job equipping workers with the support, tools and skills they need to navigate a more turbulent labor market.

Read Atkinson’s written testimony.