In a 1930 essay, English economist John Maynard Keynes write about the onset of “a new disease” which he named technological unemployment: “unemployment due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour.” But each time those fears arose in the past, technological innovation resulted in creating more jobs than it destroyed, causing the majority of economists to confidently wave away such automation anxieties.
Those anxieties have reappeared in recent years, as automation is applied to activities requiring intelligence and cognitive capabilities that not long ago were viewed as the exclusive domain of humans. The concerns surrounding AI’s long term impact may well be in a class by themselves. Like no other technology, AI forces us to explore the very boundaries between machines and humans.
What is the likely impact of AI, robotics and machine learning on jobs? What kinds of skills are most important to better co-exist with our increasingly smart machines? What role should universities play to help us better prepare students for the 21st Century digital economy?
Chair: Prof. David Gann CBE, Vice President (Innovation)