Job-market threats seen growing as governments overlook AI risk

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(Bloomberg) -- Governments are failing to keep up with the boom in Artificial Intelligence.

That was the warning made on Tuesday at a panel convened by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

“There is no evidence at all that public policy -- in the U.S. at least -- is remotely keeping up with the pace and scale of change,” said Laura Tyson, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley Haas School of Business. “What automation has done is hollow out the middle and cause a lot of stagnation in middle-income households and raised inequality. What reason do we have to think the distributive impact of AI over the next 10 years will be any better?”

Speaking alongside Tyson, Fei-Fei Li, chief scientist of AI/ML at Google Cloud and an associate professor of Computer Science at Stanford AI Lab, sounded the alarm on diversity amid much discussion on the panel about the importance of avoiding human biases being replicated in the design of AI.

“AI will change the world but who will change AI?” she said. “There’s a deep crisis of diversity in this industry. Now that we’re building machines that more closely resemble humanity, it’s even more important to think about what kind of humanity, exactly, they resemble.”

On the threat to jobs, Li said the debate should focus on finding new jobs “where humans and machines live in a world of augmentation and collaboration.”

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