March of the Machines

The Economist dedicates this week’s special report to Artificial Intelligence and the effects it will have on the economy.


The first article on the report addresses a two centuries old question, which was called, then, the machinery question. First recorded during the industrial revolution, this question asks whether machines will replace so many human jobs as to leave a large fraction of humanity unemployed. The impact on jobs is addressed in more detail in another piece of the report, automation and anxiety and includes a reference to a 2013 article, by Frey and Osborne. This article reportes that 47% of workers in America have jobs at high risk, including many white collar jobs.


Countermeasures to these challenges are discussed in some detail, including the idea of universal basic income but, in the end, The Economist seems to side with the traditional opinion of economists, that technology will ultimately create more jobs than it will destroy.

Other pieces on the report describe the technology behind the most significant recent advances in AI, deep learning and the complex ethical questions raised by the possibility of advances artificial intelligences.

Images in this article are from the print edition of The Economist.



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