Artificial Intelligence, Employment, and Income

Nils J. Nilsson


Artificial intelligence (AI) will have profound societal effects. It promises potential benefits (and may also pose risks) in education, defense, business, law and science. In this article we explore how AI is likely to affect employment and the distribution of income. We argue that AI will indeed reduce drastically the need of human toil. We also note that some people fear the automation of work by machines and the resulting of unemployment. Yet, since the majority of us probably would rather use our time for activities other than our present jobs, we ought thus to greet the work-eliminating consequences of AI enthusiastically. The paper discusses two reasons, one economic and one psychological, for this paradoxical apprehension. We conclude with discussion of problems of moving toward the kind of economy that will be enabled by developments in AI.

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