The Washington Post | Ray Kurzweil on the future workforce

November 15, 2012

Source: The Washington Post — November 15, 2012 | Vivek Wadwha & Ray Kurzweil

Read full article here

Singularity University, on the grounds of the NASA Research Center at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley, abounds in optimism, and, as Singularity’s Vice President of Innovation and Research, I have understandably caught the bug.

I have written about why I believe this will be the most innovative decade in human history, how we are headed for an era of abundant and affordable health care, and how robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing will lead to an era of local manufacturing in which the creative class flourishes.

Vivek Wadwha: I still want to discuss the question of where the jobs of the future will be. I’m at Singularity University listening to[British scientist and former Northern Rock non-executive chairman Matt Ridley’s talk. He is as optimistic as you, Peter and I are, but even he can’t answer that question well.

Ray Kurzweil: People couldn’t answer that question in 1800 or 1900 either. A prescient futurist in 1900 would have said to an audience, “a third of you work in factories, another third on farms, but I predict that in a hundred years --- by the year 2000 --- that will be 3 percent and 3 percent. But don’t worry, a higher percentage of the population will have jobs and the jobs will pay a lot more in constant dollars.” When asked what those jobs might be, he would respond that those jobs have not been invented yet.

Another point is that jobs today already contain a significant component of ongoing learning. That will continue to increase as people continually learn the new skills needed for the new jobs.

We have already expanded our intelligence with brain extenders, which are not yet inside our brains but that is a distinction without a difference. That trend will also accelerate. [...]


related listening:
Umano | Washington Post’s “Ray Kurzweil on the future work force” narrated by Dwight Equitz