"There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen" — Lenin
And yesterday was a day where a lifetime’s worth of craziness happened, as researchers claim to have made what could potentially be the most significant scientific breakthrough of the 21st Century AND a US intelligence officer testified under oath that the US government is in possession of UFOs and “non-human biologics“.
Today in Tech: Aliens and superconductors
The Big Insight: History shows AI won’t take your job
5 AI tools to supercharge your productivity
AI-Generated Images: Game of Thrones - but it’s Friends
TODAY IN AI & TECH
Aliens: Former US Intelligence officer says under oath that the US government is in possession of UFOs and non-human biologics.
Historic discovery: Researchers claim a breakthrough superconductor that could revolutionize several industries — but experts urge caution.
Here comes the sun: Private companies like IBM are using AI to generate faster and more accurate weather forecasts.
World domination: Facebook passes 3 billion monthly active users. That’s roughly 40% of the world’s population.
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THE BIG INSIGHT
AI isn’t going to eliminate your job. Here’s the historical evidence:
Since the mechanization of textile looms in 1675, there have been persistent concerns about job displacement every time a new technology comes to the fore.
In fact, the term ‘Luddites’ refers to the 19th-century movement of English textile workers who opposed the use of certain types of cost-saving machinery, often by destroying the machines in clandestine raids.
History, of course, panned out in a very different way as the global economy - and employment - grew exponentially in the decades and centuries since the Luddite movement.
For a more recent example, take a look at what ATMs did to bank tellers. Bank tellers in the 1980s and 1990s would have every reason to believe that ATMs could make them obsolete by taking over the most important part of their job: counting and dispensing cash. But the data shows the opposite:
Source: Finance & Development 52, 001
Instead of putting bank tellers out of a job, ATMs increased the demand for tellers by reducing the cost of operating a bank branch. The reduced cost of operating a branch meant that banks opened more branches and hired more tellers to operate them. Bank branches in urban areas increased by more than 40% (source)
The counterintuitive nature of new technologies is such that they may eliminate certain jobs - or parts of those jobs - but they also create new jobs and empower workers in existing jobs to be more productive.
Source: NYT, U.S. Census Bureau
As some job categories vanish into the annals of history, new ones spring up to fill the void. A study by M.I.T. economist David Autor reveals the dynamic nature of the job market: a striking 60% of the jobs that existed in 2018 did not exist in 1940.
The key takeaway from the effect of new technologies on the job market: new tech doesn’t replace jobs, it displaces them, meaning that jobs are shifted, not eliminated. This requires workers to either up-skill or re-skill, but does not necessarily mean that they’ll be out of a job permanently.
Next time you hear a reactionary take on how AI is going to put us all out of a job, keep the facts above in mind, take a deep breath, and carry on with your day.
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Game of Thrones - but it’s Friends
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