Will AI take all the jobs?

Noah Smith has a blog post arguing that AI won’t take away all the jobs from humans. It’s a clever and well-written post that deserves your attention.

Here are some money grafs:

“So as AI gets better and better, and gets used for more and more different tasks, the limited global supply of compute will eventually force us to make hard choices about where to allocate AI’s awesome power. We will have to decide where to apply our limited amount of AI, and all the various applications will be competing with each other. Some applications will win that competition, and some will lose.

“This is the concept of opportunity cost — one of the core concepts of economics, and yet one of the hardest to wrap one’s head around. When AI becomes so powerful that it can be used for practically anything, the cost of using AI for any task will be determined by the value of the other things the AI could be used for instead.”

Read the whole thing. Smith isn’t a Pollyanna, and he enumerates valid concerns about the expansion of AI.

Kevin Drum isn’t having any of this:

“It seems unlikely that we’d all keep working just because, technically, that last 0.01% of compute power could be put to better use. It would have to be a helluva better use, no? An improvement of 1% in GDP wouldn’t cut it.

“So it’s a nice argument, but I don’t buy it. It seems vanishingly unlikely that, politically, we’d condemn ourselves to lives of drudgery based on an ultra-purist free-market promise that it’s for the best. We certainly never have before.”


Noah Smith on the future of AI

Kevin Drum on the future of AI