I’M MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN ELON MUSK ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Technology and automation have been altering American’s work force for centuries.  The first moving assembly line by automotive genius Henry Ford in 1913 created far more jobs than the displaced blacksmiths that aided horses. Tesla founder Elon Musk opined that a universal social safety net will be required to maintain social and economic order in the 21st century from the loss of jobs arising from automation and artificial intelligence.

Nonsense—society will adapt and new and different job titles and duties will emerge.  The world will prosper due to A.I.

As the author of the novel, Roll the Dice, I experienced many technological changes.  I dictated a draft of this blog on voice recognition software. Aside from traditional print and radio appearances; I have been a guest on Internet radio shows, written for blog tours, and spoke on podcasts throughout the nation. None of these mediums were in existence 20 years ago. New technologies, with new occupations, made all this possible.

In my novel, rock star turned Senate candidate Tyler Sloan relied on social media to raise campaign funds, air on-line ads and communicate to Nevada’s voters. As an independent, Sloan resorted to new media to equalize the advantages of his Democrat and Republican opponents. 

Many occupations will be severely reduced or eliminated. Who needs a baseball umpire when we have advanced video replays to call balls and strikes?  Who needs a referee to determine whether the wide receiver tiptoed out of bounds? Society will have far fewer postal service workers, assembly line jobs, bookkeepers, legal secretaries and fashion designers. 

However, instead of the wealthy few who retain a Nordstrom personal shopper, many more jobs are created at Stich Fix when data analytics creates your on-line, personalized clothing outfit. Many highly skilled, highly paid people are necessary to construct these analytics to assess your personal tastes and budget.

You can revel in the time saved by A.I. when your vacuum scoots around to clean your carpet. No need to hurry to the grocery market if that market or Amazon delivers the items the next day.

 A touchscreen will replace the clerk to place your order at a fast food or family restaurant. The loss of entry-level jobs will negatively impact teenagers, part-time workers and senior citizens supplementing their Social Security. The taxi cab, Uber and truck driver can all be replaced with driverless vehicles. But as with Stich Fix, higher-paying positions will design, install and create the chips, write the analytics and make critical decisions on how to maximize resources.

Here’s some newly minted positions: “data detectives” will sift through their companies’ records to generate recommendations for the firm and their customers.  “Teaming managers” will oversee how machines and human workers are seamlessly utilized to maximize their results. Unskilled workers will include, “walker-talkers” who will answer the needs of the aging population. They may walk dogs, assist with technology, or run errands

Celebrate!  Careers, work and duties are never stagnant; they historically have always changed and will change again, and again and again.