Larry Page: AI will take jobs, but living will be cheaper

Chris Burns - Oct 31, 2014
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Larry Page: AI will take jobs, but living will be cheaper

Speaking this week on the future of Google and the technology-infused world at large, Larry Page made some rather interesting comments on you and the way you’ll be working. Not at a job you don’t like. Not in a menial labor job that can be done by robots. Artificial Intelligence, he suggests, will be a big factor in two key game-changers in our society. One is in taking the place of workers at jobs they didn’t want to be at in the first place.

The second big change is going to come in the price of things we purchase, said Page. He suggested that while we change our way of working, we’ll also find that things have become more affordable.

This all comes from a Financial Times article in which the Google CEO suggested that “I think the things you want to live a comfortable life could get much, much, much cheaper.”

Page suggested that new technology will make things cheaper to buy, and life cheaper to live. This will come in handy when artificial intelligence is rapidly improved and robots take over many of our current human-run jobs. Page suggested that 9 out of 10 people “would want to be doing what they’re doing today” given the chance to send it over to a robot.

“The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job,” said Page, ” that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.”

So again, two main points:

1. Many jobs will be taken over by Artificial Intelligence.
2. Because of this, things will be cheaper.

“Even if there’s going to be a disruption on people’s jobs,” said Page, “in the short term that’s likely to be made up by the decreasing cost of things we need, which I think is really important and not being talked about.”

What do you think?

Do you think it’s a real possibility that robots might take over many of our most basic jobs, resulting in a society where we’ll instead be allowed to live more comfortably at a much lower cost?

Do you feel like this reality would result in people working at jobs they enjoy?

And a reminder – this all rings VERY similar to what Page spoke about all the way back at Google I/O 2013. Back then he put it a bit differently, saying, “technology should do the hard work, so you can get on and live your life. We’re only at one percent of what’s possible, and we’re moving slow relative to the opportunity we have.”


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