Use the future to build the present
Automation and Work
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

4.4.2Automation and Work

The prospect of more intelligent and more capable machines has generated fears that machines might replace humans entirely while concentrating wealth in the hands of a tiny minority of people.10 Some jobs are already going this way. For example, machine vision algorithms are currently upstaging radiologists in the task of assessing medical images. Translators are also being replaced by increasingly capable machine translation algorithms. Robots are already replacing certain kinds of workers, particularly those performing relatively simple, repetitive tasks: certain kinds of machine operators and drivers.11
Although it is unlikely that intelligent machines will replace humans in most jobs on the 25-year timescale, intelligent machines are likely to lead to considerable changes in society.12 The fraction of the workforce that becomes unemployed will need to be looked after and retrained where possible. And this will have to be paid for by governments, who will need to find new ways of gathering and redistributing the wealth generated by machines.13 Having historically raised revenue by taxing labour, governments will have to tax or redistribute capital to support future societies. This will also help to prevent the concentration of wealth in the hands of small group of machine owners. Radical economic innovations like new taxation models will need to be incentivised by regulators — a programme that will require collaborative economic, political and social action on global scales.

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Machines perform low-skill work

Automation technologies become more widespread, and governments put policies in place to create incentives for employing human labour and innovating with labour-augmenting technologies, supported by a change of taxation in favour of human labour and against capital, which smooths the transition.

10-yearhorizon

Governments tax automation

There is significant displacement of jobs because of machines powered by artificial intelligence. Governments implement policies that ensure human capital is not wasted: education and retraining is common, preparing workers and rising generations for a changing workplace. A wide range of economies begin trialling universal basic income paid for by the taxation of capital and automation.

25-yearhorizon

Machines alter the human experience

The workplace has changed substantially, with new jobs and tasks in place. People are working significantly less, thanks to the productivity of machines. Universal basic income allows retraining or support of displaced workers, and allows governments to incentivise the development of technology that enhances human performance rather than replacing it where appropriate. Policy measures ensure that automation technology becomes available to a wide swathe of smaller-scale employers to avoid any growth of social and economic inequalities.

Automation and Work - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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