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Berggruen Fellow John Markoff on AI's impact on society

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So, you know, I was one of the first people, as a reporter, to really have a sense that we are in a new age of AI. I began writing seriously about Artificial Intelligence 2004 with the first DARPA challenge and by 2010/2011 it was already really apparent to me that something new was happening. And that this time, AI, which had failed many times before was actually starting to work. And I was part of a group of people who noticed early on that artificial intelligence technologies that had originally been, mostly you know, sort of had impact on blue collar collar professions were beginning to have an impact on white collar professions. Lawyers, doctors, you know people who really were skilled professionals were starting to be displaced by intelligent technologies. And there was a group of people very early on who began to sort of posit this was going to have a dramatic effect on society and I was in that camp. I wrote pieces about the impact for example of artificial intelligence on the practice of law. And then a really interesting thing happened to me. In 2013 I had dinner with Danny Kanheman, the Nobel Prize winning economist, and I was making the case that that artificial intelligence and robots were going to come to China and lead to social disruption because of job displacement and he stopped me cut me off and he said you don't get it, He said in China we'll be lucky if the robots come just in time. And I was really nonplussed. I didn't understand what he was talking about. And was he walked me through the the impact of, you know, the one child policy basically in China and the rapid aging of the Chinese society. And I realized two things. One is that the working age workforce in much of the world is starting to contract so there are actually fewer workers and more importantly I also realized that what's called the dependency ratio, the ratio between people who give care in society and the people who need care both young and old, was going in the wrong direction. And so, it really reframed the world for me in the way I look at the world. And, you know, there are two facts, I mean there are a series of facts, but one of them is the number of people in the world over 80 80 will double by the middle of the century but by the end end of the century it will go up sevenfold.

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Language: English
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Posted by: berggrueninst on Nov 13, 2017

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