(These are excerpts from my book "Intelligence is not Artificial")
Jobs in the Age of the Robot - Part 5: The Jobs we Need
Asking which jobs will be eliminated by intelligent machines is asking the wrong question. Technology has been replacing humans for a long time, and typically for every job that is destroyed better jobs are created to manage the technology. The question that makes more sense is: which jobs should not be replaced by intelligent machines? Which jobs require common sense, which jobs can have disastrous consequences if performed by a person or a machine that doesn't have common sense? I don't want the self-driving car because a driver without common sense can kill people. The environment has to get a lot more structured to reassure me that intelligent machines (where "intelligent" really means "incredibly stupid") can be trusted driving a car. The other question that makes a lot of sense is: which jobs will be done by intelligent machines that today nobody does. Those are the jobs that we desperately need but that no human is capable of doing, like scanning all those millions of medical images. That machine will not steal anybody's job, and will not risk anybody's life. That machine will simply provide additional information to your doctor about your health, something that today nobody is doing. No job will be lost on account of this machine; several jobs will be created to build this machine, maintain it, update it, and, some day, decommission it and replace it with a better one; and maybe a job will even be created in a museum of old "intelligent" machines; and certainly writers like me will have a job writing about it (or against it). Over the last 30 years China has built an enormous number of high-rise buildings. Chinese cities need to check the exteriors and the windows of thousands of skyscrapers. It is a crucial task to guarantee safety but we don't have "Spider Men" that can climb the exterior walls of skyscrapers and check every surface and every window. Tiny climbing robots will do that job. They will not steal anybody's job. They will carry out an important task that today nobody is doing. Those robots will need to be built, programmed, maintained, and operated. Those robots will not kill jobs: they will create millions of jobs all over the world.
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