Sramana Mitra: If you were starting a company today with AI, what kinds of open problems would you want to solve?
Paul Daugherty: There’s a lot of areas that I’m actually really interested in. One of the issues that is a great one to solve with AI is around the identity issue. How do we use AI itself to give us better control of our identity and information? The other thing that I think is under explored and not at potential right now is using AI for learning in education. That’s why we wrote our book, Human + Machine.
We’re putting out the need to re-skill people for this new age of AI. We’re donating all the proceeds of the book to non-profits who are focused on re-skilling mid-career people. That’s the challenge of our generation – re-skilling people to be better equipped to utilize AI. There’s a lot of potential for new learning and skill models to learn their new AI-assisted jobs. Those are the jobs of the future.
AI and technology used to help learning and knowledge transition and the career navigation process for people is a huge area of opportunity.
Sramana Mitra: What happens to careers where there is not an AI-assisted job? It’s a pure replacement of humans with AI. If autonomous vehicles do become omnipresent in society and all these taxi drivers and truck drivers lose their jobs, what kind of re-skilling do you recommend to them?
Paul Daugherty: Just a couple of points I’d make to put that in context. If you look across a number of different surveys, about 14% of the population that work in jobs are subject to complete replacement. It’s a lot. Those are the jobs we need to worry about. Some of them might be in autonomous transportation.
There has been an interesting study recently looking at the couple of million truck drivers whose jobs are cited as being at risk. If you play autonomous transportation even in trucking, it’s probably only 10% to 50% that are at risk. In fact, we’re short that many drivers right now. The effects of the labor market aren’t as extreme as people claim sometimes.
Back to your question, there are real people whose careers will be impacted. They’ll lose their jobs. That’s where we need better re-training mechanisms like where we’re donating the proceeds of our book. There are many organizations focusing exactly on that population. They need more resources and more support. We also need to look at better education processes for those people.
There might be better use of government grants for example. College loans might be better directed towards mid-career re-skilling for apprenticing people from one profession to learn another job. Those are the types of things that we’re doing a lot of work on right now that is a part of how we make sure that everybody benefits and has the relevant skills for the AI economy that we’re moving into.
Sramana Mitra: It’s great to talk to you. Thank you for your time.