A recent research by consultants McKinsey, which Eric Schmidt is citing to support his opinion on emergence of new jobs, reads:
“Indeed, while this report is titled Jobs lost, jobs gained, it could have been, Jobs lost, jobs changed, jobs gained; in many ways a big part of this story is about how more occupations will change than will be lost as machines affect portions of occupations and people increasingly work alongside them.”
Researchers at McKinsey got it right, progress in the field of AI and robotics and wider implementation of related technologies rather create more job opportunities than obliterate job positions. Obviously, advancements in machine learning, voice and image recognition, and AI as a whole will disrupt the labor market, as we know it. This does not mean they will change it for worse or humans will lose jobs by the millions.
The Industrial revolution that happened in the XVIII and XIX centuries did not result in massive unemployment. A good number of farmers converted intoworkers and got factory jobs, which in turn made it possible to produce mass goods at scale laying the foundation for present day cheap consumer goods and appliances. Why should the AI and Automation revolution produce different results?
In addition, if someone is arguing that during the times of the Industrial revolution wages were stagnant for decades or working conditions were poor – this is not a technology problem, this is a problem of a government’s social and labor policy. With the right policies in place, automation and robotization can create more jobs while replacing undesired ones.