According to data gathered by the Pew Research Center, humanity has real concerns about the automated future of our economy.
A national survey conducted by Pew suggests that as much as 65% of Americans are deeply concerned that robots will replace human workers within the next 50 years. That number was only matched by the 80% that believe it would not personally affect them.
Those numbers remained relatively even across age, household income, employment type, and level of education. Despite it being one of the most obvious occupations at risk, 40% of manual laborers did not believe their work would be jeopardized.
Few viewed the rise of synthetic employees as an immediate threat, however. Still, 76% of respondents in 2017 were concerned that robot dominance would increase inequality. Of particular concern was the potential for artificial intelligence to make hiring decisions. Close behind, 75% believe that the occupations taken by robots will not be adequately replaced by human jobs.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, their concerns are more than valid. They predict that between 40 and 73 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2030 and believe that this shift has the potential to increase “income polarization,” widening the gap between the country’s rich and poor.
Neural-networked artificial intelligences are already dominating games of immense complexity like Chess and the ancient Chinese game of Go. Their next challenge is the exponential increase in action complexity of a live game like Blizzard’s Starcraft. This sort of advance strategic decision-making capability is already debuting in various fields, from blue-collar warehouse work to white-collar insurance agents, and even warfare.
Elon Musk has given humanity a 5-10% chance against technology that he believes poses a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” Meanwhile, companies are fighting the race to biological obsolescence with both brain and body enhancing hardware.
Regardless of your opinion on the matter, it has been a hot-button topic of debate in 2017 that should only heat up in the next year.
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