Report | November 20, 2020

The Work of the Future: Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines

Three years ago, robots, artificial intelligence (AI), and self-driving cars seemed to be coming fast. A widely cited study projected nearly half of all jobs in industrialized countries could soon be performed by robots or AI. A New Yorker cover published in late 2017 showed robots striding to work on a sidewalk where a disheveled human panhandler begged for coins. During the 2019 Super Bowl, six TV commercials featured robots or AI-enabled assistants. One beer advertisement showed robots gleefully surpassing humans in running, bicycling, and golfing, but ended with a robot gazing wistfully through a window at people socializing in a bar. Humans would soon be outcompeted in every arena except social drinking, this ad seemed to say.