The rapid advancement of algorithms – as seen in emerging technologies like the Internet of Things and robotics – is forecast to spur revolutionary change in employment over the next decades. Janna Anderson shares this and other findings of reports she co-authored for Pew Research in 2014.
We surveyed 1,896 technology experts and netizens for a series of reports on the likely future impacts of emerging technologies on work and employment. The consensus is that industries will be transformed by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, altering workflows and changing the roles of workers.
However, respondents were split when asked whether AI and robotics will “displace more jobs than they have created by 2025.” While 48 percent argued that more jobs will be lost, 52 percent said they have faith that as current jobs are eliminated, different ones will emerge.
The survey,conducted for Pew Research and Elon University, also gathered opinions about digital life in 2025 and the likely impact of the Internet of Things.
While unmanned and self-driving vehicles, smartphones and new types of work robots are grabbing headlines now, smarter robots, sensors, actuators, embedded systems and invisible digital agents are expected to take over or alter a vast amount of human work over the next few decades. In other words, they’ll connect, build, move and remove things, handle logistics and carry out most transactions. In addition, the way goods and services are delivered is expected to evolve significantly thanks to advances in interconnectivity, transportation systems and data aggregation and analytics.
Advances in deep-learning algorithms are spurring the most change. Andrew Ng chief scientist for Baidu, says the largest brain model in 2010 had about 10 million connections, by early 2011 it was 1 billion and in 2013 it was 10 billion. Quantum computing that might magnify success in rapid problem solving is said to soon become a reality.
- Professor of Emerging Media, Elon University and Director of the Imagining the Internet Center
- Co-authored “AI, Robotics and the Future of Jobs” a study by the Pew Research Center published in August 2014.