Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AI Businesses Robotics

Bill Gates Thinks AI Taking Everyone's Jobs Could be a Good Thing (businessinsider.com) 314

Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, thinks that artificial intelligence will take over a lot of jobs and ultimately will be a good thing. From a report: In an interview, Gates said that robots taking over our jobs will make us more efficient, and lead to more free time. "Well, certainly we can look forward to the idea that vacations will be longer at some point," Gates told Fox Business. "If we can actually produce twice as much as we make today with less labor, the purpose of humanity is not just to sit behind a counter and sell things, you know?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bill Gates Thinks AI Taking Everyone's Jobs Could be a Good Thing

Comments Filter:
  • by MetricT ( 128876 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:26PM (#56010931)

    I don't care if a robot takes my job, but I *do* care if a robot takes my salary. I would imagine most folks feel similarly.

    There will either be some sort of basic income or some other redistribution to the people left salary-less, or in another decade there will be social strife that makes today look positively quaint by comparison.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:48PM (#56011119)
      not to work? The phrase "Those who don't work don't eat" exists in just about every culture. And the American political system's seen welfare used as a defining wedge issue of our political system since Reagan.
      • what if all the work is done by robots that don't need to eat?

        • and it's up to me whether I want to give my money. And if you want to give your money away go right ahead. But don't take my money (at the barrel of a gun, always at the barrel of a gun, because that's how taxes work) away from me and make me give it to someone else. Who I give my money to is my decision.

          These are the arguments you're going to hear when we start getting serious about UBI. And as for the part about the 'barrel of a gun', well, it's not wrong. In the past when income inequality has gotten
        • Once the robots have human level intelligence, they will have human motives and will want to get paid. And there goes your free living. Logically the robots will be better at every job than humans (eventually), meaning humans will have to live on make-work or welfare, or opt out of capitalism and live in a self sufficient "Menonite style" farming community.
    • by Ranbot ( 2648297 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:50PM (#56011141)

      Gates is parroting various post-scarcity or Star Trek-based economic theories that if technology can provide everything people want, so they will live for their own happiness and the well-being of society. Star Trek lore says they ended scarcity with "replicator" technology that can make anything people want; Gates is suggesting robotic automation will end scarcity instead, but the effect is the same.

      https://www.wired.com/2016/05/... [wired.com]
      https://medium.com/@RickWebb/t... [medium.com]

      There's literally a book about it: https://www.amazon.com/Trekono... [amazon.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2018 @06:22PM (#56011393)

        See, as much as I like Star Trek, some aspects of the Federation never made sense to me. For example, the notion that people will work for the betterment of society rather than for compensation. So you're gonna tell me that the Red Shirts are willing to brave venturing down onto a mysterious planet with little to no protection, get horrendously murdered, and expect the traumatized survivors to just accept a pat on the back and some words thanking them for doing their part for the Federation? Sounds a lot like the Terran Federation in that sense.

        What about trading between alien races? Do you expect an alien race to just let anyone mine their Dilithium crystals deposits without any form of compensation or trade? In DS9, there's a scene where Jake needs money for a baseball card auction and asks Nog, a Ferengi, for money. Nog rightfully points out that if the people of the Federation don't need money, then Jake wouldn't need Nog's to buy that card.

        What about the crooked Admirals of Star Fleet? The power plays that officers make to one up each other and gain promotions and power? That doesn't seem like they're acting within the Federation's best interests.

        A post scarcity society has the potential to be good for humanity. But the notion that humanity is willing to do hard, and even dangerous future work for no material compensation is silly at best, dangerous at worst.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          See, as much as I like Star Trek, some aspects of the Federation never made sense to me. For example, the notion that people will work for the betterment of society rather than for compensation. So you're gonna tell me that the Red Shirts are willing to brave venturing down onto a mysterious planet with little to no protection, get horrendously murdered, and expect the traumatized survivors to just accept a pat on the back and some words thanking them for doing their part for the Federation? Sounds a lot like the Terran Federation in that sense.

          That one is partially explained by the transporters. In case you missed it, replicators and transporters operate on the same principal, except that the transporter normally requires a fresh deep-scan on the subject before atomizing it and building a copy out of material partially including the original matter.

          Die on an away mission? Well, we have a 2-hour old scan of you, welcome back. The med-bay issues are partially because no one wants to think about that part of the tech too much, only the adrenaline

          • Die on an away mission? Well, we have a 2-hour old scan of you, welcome back

            Whiirrrrrr

            Ensign Redshirt: "Weren't we about to beam down the planet? Uh, Captain? Mr. Spock? Why is everyone looking at ... Oh. I died again, didn't I."

      • You are missing the part of energy quotas. Each according to their need. The Federation is rather authoritarian and tyrannical with a secret police and near limitless power to the Federations ability to declare martial law. Who decides how much energy you can consume if you truly live in post-scarcity? We haven't even kicked the fossil fuel habit yet some believe that a few robots doing mundane tasks will be the equivalent of a society that can convert energy into matter on a whim yet still limits every cit

    • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:50PM (#56011143)
      End game for any advanced civilization should be 100% automation and unemployment.
    • what if a robot took your _need_ for a salary?

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      I don't care if a robot takes my job, but I *do* care if a robot takes my salary. I would imagine most folks feel similarly.

      It is not like you have a choice in the matter. You can try and switch jobs to one the robots cannot do, OR start your own business, and be an inefficient competitor.

      I think most people will find a way and do the former. So the robots might cause salaries of working jobs to be lower, BUT they should also cause the price of goods and services people can buy to go down, espe

  • Thanks, Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:27PM (#56010941)

    Easy enough to say when you have enough resources that you won't need to work to support yourself. How does he propose to distribute this bounteous windfall? Does he think the companies run the AI production facilities are going to be handing out their product to the idled (non-)workers?

    Yeah, right, Bill. You go first!

    Anyone else remember the 1960's, when they were telling us by 2000 everyone would only have to work 20 hours a week? That sure ended well!

    • I think Bertrand Russel draws some terrible conclusions, but he makes an astute observation as to why a 20 hour work week is unlikely in his essay In Praise of Idleness [zpub.com] that he wrote over 80 years ago.

      What we tend to see in the real world is that advances in technology still leave most people working approximately 40 hours per week, but an increase in the requirements for minimum capability to do useful work. It's not hard to imagine that as robots and AI continue to advance we may have a world where onl
    • Bill doesn't need a weekly income. He's perfectly content drawing off of his investment portfolio. Besides, he and the other 1%ers just received a windfall annual tax cut that probably is more than the combined salaries of hundreds of working stiffs.

    • by Feneric ( 765069 )
      Actually IIRC all of the necessary conditions for the 20 hour work week predicted back in the '60s have already come to pass, but they didn't predict the vastly lopsided distribution of wealth that's currently in effect today. A more equitable distribution probably would have lead to shorter working weeks.
    • by erice ( 13380 )

      Easy enough to say when you have enough resources that you won't need to work to support yourself. How does he propose to distribute this bounteous windfall? Does he think the companies run the AI production facilities are going to be handing out their product to the idled (non-)workers?

      Yeah, right, Bill. You go first!

      Anyone else remember the 1960's, when they were telling us by 2000 everyone would only have to work 20 hours a week? That sure ended well!

      It's not that far wrong, *on average*. If the half the workers are working 40 hours per week and the other half are unemployed then *on average*, people work 20 hours per week.

    • Easy enough to say when you have enough resources that you won't need to work to support yourself. How does he propose to distribute this bounteous windfall? Does he think the companies run the AI production facilities are going to be handing out their product to the idled (non-)workers?

      Yeah, right, Bill. You go first!

      Anyone else remember the 1960's, when they were telling us by 2000 everyone would only have to work 20 hours a week? That sure ended well!

      Though to be fair, half your 40 hour week is spent on /.

  • Rule of thumb: if Bill Gates says something is good, assume it is bad.

  • This is great and all, but the only way it works is some sort of basic income scheme. Which means we need to come to the grips with the fact that there will be some people who to fuck-all and mooch off of the productive people. They'll never be rich, possibly not even comfortable, but we'll have to make it liveable.
  • and self serving to boot. I don't believe Gates REALLY thinks that the people who own the AI and the automation equipment are going to share the wealth and give Joe Average Human a perpetual vacation; he's neither stupid nor naive. Where's the advantage in being wealthy if all the poor schmucks have both as much free time as you do and sufficient food and shelter to enjoy it? The wealthy want to be different, they want to be advantaged; not primarily because it's safer and more fun, but because to them it's

  • As a person who's experienced my job being superseded by machinery I also would welcome this. Robots will do all the work eventually anyway. Everything would be free, so Bill's money would be worthless too. Need or want something? Just tell the robot to get it. Humans being what they are, we would, of course, still need a government but one thing at a time...
  • I think great minds often fall for this "trap". Bertrand Russel predicted the same, arguing that industrialization would allow more leisure opportunities to more income classes. What they seem to miss is that people unemployed by technology will not have money to enjoy their leisure time, whereas the employed ones won't be asked to work any less. (Unless you're the boss of course!)
  • By Free Time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by midifarm ( 666278 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:36PM (#56011023) Homepage
    He means unemployment and time to wander the streets because you're homeless.
    • I'll be too busy joining a roving gang of bandits to just go wandering about. Somebody has to use violence against the weak for political and financial gain now, don't they? That's something you'll never fully automate.
      • I'll be too busy joining a roving gang of bandits to just go wandering about. Somebody has to use violence against the weak for political and financial gain now, don't they? That's something you'll never fully automate.

        And when the roaming gangs or starving masses of rioting unemployed people come about the owning class let loose the solar powered autonomous drones armed with self-guiding bullets, remotely shut down all infrastructure and murder anyone who doesn't kill themselves/starve or die of thirst in their homes

        • Where's the entertainment value in that?

          You have to play with them, like a cat with a half dead mouse, on Camera. Remote controlled by the idle rich.

          Youtube collections: Best Roving Bandit Own Goals. Best Roving Bandit Almost Made Its. etc You can already find Somali Pirate versions.

          They'll keep shitholes fenced off, just for the luls.

  • About how to pay for essentials, much less anything extra. I'm not going to listen to a guy who got his money doing things that would land him in jail today.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:42PM (#56011081)

    "ultimately" "eventually" "in the long run" "some day"

    No one should ever dispute that advanced technology improves lives. We have countless examples. Compare now to 100 years ago, and life is longer, healthier, easier in every way across the board.

    But I don't care about 100 years from now. I don't care that AI will make life better for your grandchildren. I care about my life today and while I'm still alive.

    That's another constant: advanced technology doesn't start advanced. Perhaps "mature technology" is the better term here.

    The first car sucked. It wasn't anywhere near as good as the last horse. But today, cars are far better than horses.

    It'll take decades before today concept of AI is at all worthwhile. If you already have a few billion dollars in your mattress, then I can see looking forward to it. If you hate your life and just work for your grandchildren's retirement, then I can see supporting it.

    But if you don't want to funnel all of your time money and effort into a future that you'll never see, then killing your perfect horse for the first car is just the worst thing that you can do for your family today.

  • All this wisdom about the value of work from a guy who hasn't had a typical job since he wrote a traffic data app using school computer time.

    On the other hand, all that vacation will give people more time to write FOSS.

  • Automation of a large majority of jobs is only 10 to 20 years away.

    Take autonomous cars. That is the next big disruptive technology that will start impacting everyone in the next 10 years.

    No more truck drivers, taxi drivers, delivery people, to start.

    Car dealerships will decline as people stop buying personal cars and use uber type services that have fleets of autonomous cars to handle all trips.

    Once all manual drive vehicles are forced off the roads, no more stop signs or traffic lights. Autonomo
    • Most jobs from 50-100 years ago have already been mostly automated. Computers, every more automated large scale assembly lines, self serve kiosks, pneumatic nail guns, etc. have all reduced the need for labor and increased productivity.

      From a distance you would think that if you were 4x more productive you would be working only 10 hours a week rather than 40 (or be making 4x as much in real terms). The reality however is that most gains show up as higher profits for capital owners. Wages have stagnated,

      • This why marijuana is being legalized. Soon it will be available as daily allotments to pacify most of the people.

        Of course the real solution is to eliminate the jobless class. Once power is consolidated and the ones in power are protected in their enclaves they can start the next major conflict where the conscript the jobless to fight in a war that is designed to kill as many of them as possible.

        They now know that we can sustain a medium size war in several countries at a time, just need to expand th
      • Inequality like we already have is unsustainable, and as a country you basically end up either going the social-democracy route like a lot of Europe with high taxes on the wealthy to support a good society for all, or you go police state like a lot of "democratic" dictatorships around the world. I am guessing we are headed for the latter, and are closer than most care to admit.

        I'm not sure I share your pessimism. Propaganda like Fox News only works for so long. And the old, white audience they cater to is not going to be a political force for that much longer.

        My republican relatives are largely giving up on Fox at this point, because they're not idiots. While the message plays to their biases, they have memories, and when very large percentages of what they see turn out to be flat wrong, they start to distrust the message. The insane ramp-up of crazy over there during the Obama

  • Well (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:50PM (#56011135)
    I guess that's easy for a billionaire to say. Someone who lives paycheck to paycheck, like myself, disagrees wholeheartedly. If Billy Gates is feeling generous, why doesn't he help out main street America?
  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @05:59PM (#56011201) Journal

    With all the automation and huge increases in productivity, how many of you are working fewer hours than you were 5, 10, 15, or 20 years ago?

    I'm willing to bet it's damn few of you. The fact is that automation and increases in productivity do not put money in the pockets of people who work for a living, they put money in the pockets of people who own for a living, which is a very small fraction of the population.

    If you're excited by the prospects of automation and AI and all that good stuff, you better come to terms with a massive increase in the social welfare state, because there is no other option.

    • If you're excited by the prospects of automation and AI and all that good stuff, you better come to terms with a massive increase in the social welfare state, because there is no other option.

      What do you mean no other option? They can do to us same we did to horses when car engines became a thing.. Number of horses globally peaked in 1916 and If you today want to see some you need to specifically go out to see them or buy french or romanian beef..

      Some people will be kepth around for expertise, entertainment or spare organs..

      • What do you mean no other option? They can do to us same we did to horses when car engines became a thing.

        Except there are a LOT more horses than riders, and this time, the horses have guns.

        Any other option outside of a massive increase in the welfare state ends in guillotines and a lot of very wealthy blood in the streets.

      • Some people will be kepth around for expertise, entertainment or spare organs..

        Yea, that's what would happen with a noob at the helm of robotic Armageddon. A pro would wait for the automated organ vat replication technology to mature before executing 99.7% of the planet.

    • Since these universities, companies, stand alone hobbiests, etc live under the protection and order granted by a majority of fair citizens then these entities need to be required to be fair to the rest of the citizens. You know, the stuff you have to explain to 4 year olds and the occasional "adult". Tl:dr anyone claiming ownership of any technology, code, process, etc is not alowed to claim so after X years, where X is something sensible like 5-10ish. No bullshit, no backsies, and add at least a pinch
  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @06:03PM (#56011239)
    Reminds me of the classic twilight zone episode where the book loving protagonist, in a post apocalyptic world, finally has time enough to read all the books they ever wanted only to break thier glasses putting all reading out of touch forever. When we let just a few people own all the technology and systems, they can live like gods while us plebs have the freedom and time to starve to death and die. Revolt is a limited time offer, when the mines, foundries, manufacturing, assembly, customer service and more is all automated, striking workers is the perfect excuse to do away with them all forever - you don't pay robots. Further, a gun is going to do jack squat against swarms of suicide bomb micro kill drones, autonomous ground forces or drone air strikes, humans that do not live in full military societies are surprisingly easy to take down. With the military automated as well, a few people could put down the rest of the billions on the planet like was never possible to even imagine, much less realize.
  • In theory there's a point where we have so much we don't want anymore but there's an entire industry of advertising dedicated to finding ways to make you want more. After World War II when America was producing too much corn did we stop making corn? No we found new and innovative ways to use corn like feeding it to grass eating animals we eat and turning into liquid and drinking it. When AI runs thing that doesn't mean we'll have free time. It'll just mean we have more stuff. Machines have ALREADY made us more efficient that doesn't make people work less. It just makes the top of the pyramid even richer. We all still work just as hard just different and we push even more wealth up the ladder. By that logic if we give rich people more money they'll spend it and that wealth will tricky back down. It was a stupid idea when Reagan said it and it was a moronic one when Trump did it. I like Bill Gates as a person but he's wrong here.
    • This is why the first implants for 24-7-365 internet access jacked directly into your brain will be free. It also has the added bonus that the surgery to implant it is as painless as the implant is useful to you.
  • by johnrpenner ( 40054 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @06:06PM (#56011271) Homepage

    this is the same thing they said about MOTORS — that they would save us from having to do all the labour and free us for other things — what actually happened is that they made us work just as long — with 10x the horsepower coming from machinery to leverage the higher profits made possible by the machinery.

  • We know that Musk is a Banks fan. Maybe Gates is, too?

  • Bill's always been a prick
    (us more efficient) = make businesses more profitable, workers are a drag on companies
    (more free time) = time to sit on a corner begging
    (social safety net) = rich pricks hate dole bludgers
    (retrain for the new economy) = oh fuck, forgot, all the jobs have been automated
    (relax, and focus on other interests) = time to sit on a corner begging

  • by gabrieltss ( 64078 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @07:20PM (#56011837)

    "In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothing to do
    Some machine is doing that for you"

    "In The Year 2525 (Exordium And Terminus)"

  • by mr_resident ( 222932 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @07:34PM (#56011943) Homepage

    jesus fucking christ what an asshat.

  • by rnturn ( 11092 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @12:06AM (#56013197)

    We--and I think by "we", he means "we business owners"--can have employees work for half the hours or only have half the employees.

    Does he seriously think any business wouldn't jump at the chance to reduce their expenses by slashing employees and/or wages? The chance that any company is going to offer employees the same salary once an AI is doing more of their work is nearly non-existent. Sure... you'll have more free time once the AI does your work but you won't have any money to do anything with that free time. Maybe the AI will give you the freedom to find a second job...

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Saturday January 27, 2018 @01:52AM (#56013475) Homepage

    We programmers have been automating our own tasks for decades.

    First, we created assembly language to make it easier to generate machine code.
    We created compilers to automatically generate many op codes with a single line.
    We created form designers to take the drudgery out of positioning controls on a window.
    We created methods of sharing components via NuGet or other repositories so we didn't have to re-create components every time we needed them.
    We learned how to automate unit and integration testing of our software.
    We learned how to automate deployment of new versions of our code.

    In one day, I can write more USEFUL code than a programmer in the 1960s could write in a month. But somehow, there's still PLENTY of work for all of us programmers to do. Most every programming shop or department has a backlog measured in YEARS.

    As with programming, if we automate more of our non-programming chores, we won't all be out of work. We'll just be able to get more done, things we couldn't even have imagined getting done years ago.

Building translators is good clean fun. -- T. Cheatham

Working...