Robots will be capable of doing almost any job that humans can within next 30 years due to advances in artificial intelligence, threatening to put over half the world’s population out of jobs, experts have warned.
Moshe Vardi, a computer scientist at the Rice University in US, expects that within 30 years, machines and computers will be capable of doing almost any job that a human can.
"We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task," Vardi said.
"Can the global economy adapt to greater than 50 per cent unemployment? Will those out of work be content to live a life of leisure?" Vardi noted.
"I believe that society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: If machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?" he said.
"The question I want to put forward is, ‘Does the technology we are developing ultimately benefit mankind?’" said Vardi, a member of both the US National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Science.
He suggests that the pace of advancement in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing, even as existing robotic and AI technologies are eliminating a growing number of middle-class jobs and thereby driving up income inequality.
Vardi said some people believe that future advances in automation will ultimately benefit humans, just as automation has benefited society since the dawn of the industrial age.
"A typical answer is that if machines will do all our work, we will be free to pursue leisure activities," Vardi said.
But even if the world economic system can be restructured to enable billions of people to live lives of leisure, Vardi questions whether it would benefit humanity.
"I do not find this a promising future, as I do not find the prospect of leisure-only life appealing. I believe that work is essential to human well-being," he said.
"Humanity is about to face perhaps its greatest challenge ever, which is finding meaning in life,’" Vardi said.
"We need to rise to the occasion and meet this challenge" before human labour becomes obsolete," he added.
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