Jobs and AI

According to a survey of artificial intelligence experts, AI will probably be good enough to take on pretty much most of our jobs within half a century.

AI jobs

The predicted applications of AI could serve as an alarm bell for us to consider how our economy and job market will adapt to ever smarter technology. A team of researchers from the University of Oxford and Yale University received 352 responses to a survey they’d sent out to over 1,600 academics who had presented at conferences on machine learning and neural information processing in 2015. The survey asked the experts to assign probabilities to dates in the future that AI might be capable of performing specific tasks, from folding laundry to translating languages. They also asked for predictions on when machines would be superior to humans in fulfilling certain occupations, such as surgery or truck-driving; when they thought AI would be better than us at all tasks; and what they thought the social impacts could be. The researchers then combined the results to determine a range of time stretching from a low 25 percent confidence to 75 percent certain, calculating a median point when most experts were hedging their bets.

You can check out the results in the table below.

AI predictions 

Most of the academics seem fairly confident that we’ll have an AI be better than all humans at playing Angry Birds within the next seven years, and that we can start to place bets on AI winning World Series Poker within a decade. We can bet there’s a 50 percent chance robots will be better than us at folding laundry in about six years, followed very soon by an AI winning the strategy computer game StarCraft. If you drive a truck for a living, there’s a slim chance you’ll be competing with automated drivers in just over five years, but you can be fairly sure there’ll giving up the road to driverless trucks in just over 20 years. There’s a good chance we’ll see a book written by an AI in the New York Times bestseller list in 26 years and a top 40 pop song in maybe 12 years.

The researchers set the 50 percent chance line for artificial intelligence being better at just about everything – a point they describe as High Level Machine Intelligence – in just under 50 years. At which point they think there’s a likelihood that AI will be capable of doing just about any job you can imagine by 2140.

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