Nouriel Roubini: Why Ai Poses a Threat to Millions of Workers

Industries as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, the automobile industry, and the financial sector are increasingly looking to artificial intelligence to automate vast swaths of their operations, thereby reducing costs significantly.

Prof. Roubini of the NYU Stern School of Business and author of “Megathreats” warns that the rise of artificial intelligence will have a devastatingly detrimental effect on workers across all industries.

All aspects of our lives have been improved by AI, from the smartphones in our wallets to the grocery stores that utilize the technology to better forecast which things shoppers want to see on shelves. Roubini, who became known as “Dr. Doom” for his accurate forecast of the 2008 financial crisis, claims that AI will put millions of jobs at risk.

“The disadvantage is that while AI, machine learning, robots, automation enhances the economic pie, possibly, it also leads to losses of jobs and labor income,” Roubini said in an interview at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit.

Consider the case of self-driving vehicles. While they may help reduce traffic accidents and, by extension, the number of deaths and injuries that occur on America’s roads, they also threaten to put millions of people out of employment. Roubini predicted that the loss of the 5.5 million drivers for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, as well as the 5.5 million truckers and teamsters, would have a permanent impact on the economy. Which employment do you think they’ll be able to get?”

The introduction of really driverless automobiles is still some time off. The majority of existing automotive technology is designed to aid drivers rather than operate vehicles independently. However, car companies have said clearly that they intend to advance the technology to the point where a driver is unnecessary.

Nouriel Roubini

However, Roubini suggests that other workers besides drivers and trucks could be affected by this trend. It is possible that as AI develops, it will be utilized to replace humans in artistic domains.

Cognitive professions that can be broken down into smaller activities are also increasingly being mechanized, according to Roubini. “Even creative jobs,” the article continues, “now there are AIs that will create a script or a movie, or make a poem, or write…or paint, or even [write] a piece of music that soon enough is going to be top 10 in the Billboard Magazine chart.”

Digital art is being created with AI, albeit it may be some time before it is recognized with significant honors or art prizes. For example, the free and open-source software DALL-E uses a user’s input to generate an image from millions of images found online.

Although artists aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, Roubini’s predictions might come true in the long run because AI is rapidly expanding into previously imagined economic sectors.


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