Bill Crawford’s job growth lament in the Nov. 5 Sun Herald sounded like so many other dire predictions of the coming age of artificial intelligence. All of us, including Mr. Crawford, need to settle down and take a deep breath. Yes, AI will change the way we work and eliminate many jobs done by humans today. But so did the industrial revolution.
One backhoe replaced 20 men laboring with shovels in the hot sun. The result was a massive improvement in productivity, and the health and longevity of the laborer. As productivity soared, the economy boomed.
As a result, in the U.S. today 96 percent of Americans who want jobs have one. AI has the potential to do for the office worker what backhoes did for the ditch digger. This freeing up of human intellectual capital can lead to economic expansion far beyond what we see today.
A computer is a machine. Humans are not computers; we have creativity, compassion, ambition, and we care for our planet and every living thing on it. That is where our future lies.