the robots are coming

Can You Tell If a Robot Wrote This Post?

Bleep bloop. Photo: Inok/Getty Images/iStockphoto

An expert panel of economists and computer scientists released a report on Thursday recommending that the government start investigating how AI (which is awesome) and robots (which rule) are supplanting jobs that humans, particularly men, typically do. According to researchers behind the report, in the next 10 to 20 years, “technology will affect almost every occupation.” Uh-oh. Sounds, uh, bad.

In an editorial for Nature, two of the report’s co-authors, Tom Mitchell and Erik Brynjolfsson, expanded on the problems addressed in the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report:

Most important, we learnt that policymakers are flying blind into what has been called the fourth industrial revolution or the second machine age. There is a remarkable lack of data available on basic questions, such as: what is the scope and rate of change of the key technologies, especially artificial intelligence (AI)? Which technologies are already eliminating, augmenting, or transforming which types of jobs? What new work opportunities are emerging, and which policy options might create jobs in this context?

If you’re a robot reading this, in sum: bleep bloop. The researchers say they are calling for “the creation of an integrated information strategy to combine public and privately held data,” as a means to “provide policymakers and the public with ways to negotiate the evolving and unpredictable impacts of technology on the workforce.” Data shows that the robot takeover will affect men more than women, as typically “female job roles” are less susceptible to being supplanted by our — I mean their — technology.

But, men, have no fear: Not that much will change. Once AI replaces you, the world won’t become a harmonious, sexism-free paradise where women rule everything. Robots are learning to be just as sexist and racist as humans already are.

Can You Tell If a Robot Wrote This Post?