Bill Gates highlights the ‘dramatic’ societal shift that this technology is bringing | The Daily Courier

Ian Krietzberg
7 Min Read

Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Free Report co-founder Bill Gates, speaking to Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos meeting Tuesday, said that artificial intelligence will drive a “dramatic” shift in productivity across the labor market. 

His comments come amid fears that the technology will automate away large swaths of the workforce, further worsening global inequality. 

According to Gates, the coming advancements in productivity will be “phenomenal for the world.”

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AI will “raise productivity generally and you should all pay attention because it’s so dramatic how it improves white-collar productivity,” Gates said, adding that the coming combination of AI with robotics will eventually bring that productivity to blue-collar work as well. “The world will be richer, and you can work less and have more.”

A recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that 40% of global jobs, particularly high-skilled jobs, are exposed to AI. In advanced economies, that number rises to 60%. Of those exposed jobs, about half could stand to benefit from AI, while the other half may experience “lower labor demand, leading to lower wages and reduced hiring. In the most extreme cases, some of these jobs may disappear.”

The report additionally found that in most scenarios, AI will “likely worsen overall inequality,” a trend that the IMF said needs to be proactively addressed by lawmakers quickly through social safety nets and retraining programs. 

A recent study found that AI could grow the U.S. GDP up to $1 trillion in annual value over the next 10 years. 

“We have a huge commitment to make sure there’s not this normal 20-year lag between benefit to the rich versus developing countries,” Gates said, though he added that AI could be a powerful tool for those developing countries. 

Africa, Gates said, has a bigger teacher and doctor shortage than elsewhere in the world; AI could be used to provide such places with an AI doctor or an AI tutor, addressing that gap. 

Gates said that he has already funded pilot programs in Africa to help bring that iteration of AI to people at roughly the same time as Big Tech corporations ship their own AI evolutions. 

“In a few cases, rich world regulations may make it roll out slower than countries like India and Africa,” Gates said. “It’s a race, but it’s a race for good. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Related: How one tech company is tackling the recent proliferation of deepfake fraud

AI and inequality

Still, that issue of inequality rather than productivity is one that has AI researcher and Ivanti CPO Dr. Srinivas Mukkamala most concerned. He told TheStreet last year that the AI revolution will be much more dramatic in terms of worker displacement than previous technological revolutions. 

He added that while it is likely AI will bring about boosts to every country’s GDP, it will additionally widen the gap between skilled and unskilled workers and countries, resulting in severe inequality. 

“We’re going to pretty much have 99% of the world’s population left behind,” he said. “There is just no doubt about it. We’re going to create a true economic crater.”

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, told Bloomberg Tuesday that — similar to Gates — he sees current AI models as “much more of a tool than we expected.”

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in attendance at the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Bloomberg&solGetty Images

ChatGPT, which was launched in November of 2022, is not yet replacing jobs, he said; it’s enhancing workers’ productivity. The allocation of AI systems as tools for efficiency, rather than the precursors to artificial employees, however, is one that he thinks will remain over the long term.  

“Of course, jobs will change and some jobs will totally go away,” Altman added. “I think (artificial general intelligence) will get developed in the close-ish future and it’ll change the world much less than we all think.”

At the same time, Worldcoin, another of Altman’s startups, aims to create the foundation for a universal basic income in a world without work. 

Meanwhile, the productivity enhancements presented by AI act as a bit of a double-edged sword, according to Gates: “It means the bad guys will be more productive” as well. 

“You’ve got to be sure the best AI are in the hands of the good guys,” he said. “It’s a challenge, but people sometimes lose sight of the fact that this is the biggest productivity advance in our lifetimes.”

The past year has seen an enormous increase in AI-driven deep fake fraud, including that of vocal cloning to force ransom payments. Experts remain concerned about the impact of such technology, without ingrained transparency requirements, on elections, among other things.  

Contact Ian with AI stories via email, [email protected], or Signal 732-804-1223.

Related: US Expert Warns of One Overlooked AI Risk

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Ian Krietzberg

2024-01-17 04:01:15 , stories

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