At a luncheon hosted by the Technology Alliance in Seattle, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella weighed in on whether computers will one day put a lot of us out of work, and his take is that people are right to be concerned.
Driverless cars are on the way, and closer to home, Boeing is automating more of its manufacturing. Are humans destined to be replaced?
Nadella said past technological shifts created jobs in new sectors even as others became obsolete, but he said this time may be different. The answer, he said, is to invest more in education and training, and he said government may have to step in to help people who are displaced.
"If economic surplus is getting created but jobs are not getting created, then that’s another place where there needs to be new policies on how that economic surplus gets distributed so that people are able to in fact be taken care of," Nadella said.
The Pew Research Center interviewed experts in 2014 about the economic effects of robotics and artificial intelligence. About half said significant numbers of jobs will be lost by 2025, leading to wider income inequality, while the other half said new industries will emerge, offsetting the losses.