Artificial intelligence and increasing levels of automation will over time completely deprive middle-class people of jobs and lead to major political, economic and social changes, Stephen Hawking said.
In a column for The Guardian, the world famous physicist wrote that “the ongoing automation of factories and factories is already bringing about a reduction in the number of jobs and the abandonment of traditional production. The rise of artificial intelligence will only accelerate this pace and seriously affect the working middle class. Only people of those professions where a creative approach to solving problems, as well as supervisory control will be needed, will remain in demand”.
Hawking agrees with many experts who are concerned about the negative effects of aggressive technological integration and the consequences it could have on the human workforce in the coming decades. The main concern is that, despite the radical increase in production efficiency due to the introduction of artificial intelligence into this production, ordinary people will be left out of work, as their jobs will be occupied by smart machines.
Technology has already cut a large workforce by changing traditional production methods and severely thinning middle-class jobs. In the very near future, this trend will reach its peak and "heads will fly even faster."
47 percent of US jobs are at risk of automation, according to a report released this February by Citibank, backed by Oxford University. For the UK, the figure is 35 percent. For OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, this figure will average 57 percent. China will get the most. There, about 77 percent of current jobs will be automated.
Currently, 3 of the 10 largest employers in the world (Foxconn, Walmart and the US Department of Defense) are actively replacing employees with robots.
According to Hawking, “Automation will ultimately accelerate the already increasing economic inequality in the world. The Internet and the platforms that use it will make it possible for small groups of people to generate incredible profits without hiring a large number of employees. It's inevitable, it's progress, but it's also a socially destructive approach."
This, according to Hawking, is the reason for the growing popularity of the right-wing forces with populist views in the West:
Along with other problems - overpopulation, climate change, disease - we, Hawking warns, "are in the most dangerous period of human development." And in order to overcome all these problems, humanity needs to unite.
Stephen Hawking has previously expressed his concerns about the development of artificial intelligence. Speaking about various reasons, the most important he highlighted the likelihood that AI will one day be able to surpass and replace humans.