Will AI Steal Our Jobs? ^
Tim Dunlop argues that the question «will robot takes our job?» or the possibility of one-to-one replacement of humans by machines is a wrong question. He believes the current way is more about how emerging technologies reshape the way in which work is organized4. Before this, Pew Research Center conducted a mass survey on experts’ opinions to the question on whether human jobs will be replaced by AI and robotics by 2025. Surprisingly, there was a divergence in answers to this question. 48% of respondents regarded that robots and AI will displace huge numbers of both blue and white workers and causes social problems such as income inequality, mass unemployment, and social order breakdown. The other 52% of respondents predicted that emerging technology will not replace more jobs than it creates. They believe that new jobs will be created while current human jobs be replaced by technology5. It’s something similar to Dunlop’s point of view.
Along these lines, it is a big question to verify whether eventually the human labor force will decrease (or increase) accompanying with the AI revolution. In May 2017, researchers from the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute’s AI Impacts project released a survey about the timeline of human jobs shifting to AI and autonomous systems. They found that respondents (all machine learning experts) believed there is a 50% possibility of AI exceeding human workers in all fields within 45 years and replacing all human jobs in 120 years6. Though some experts believe more jobs will be created when certain tasks will be replaced by automation7. Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee – the authors of The Second Machine Age – believe that the dynamic of the technology revolution will destroy more jobs then create, causing the reduction of the middle class and rise of inequality in society, calling it «Decoupling»8. In this paper, I would like to follow Brynjolfsson’s and McAfee’s assumption9, those jobs under clear and present threat from AI technologies are neither Knowledge-Intensive nor Labor-Intensive, but something between them. It’s unavoidable that AI will take over some jobs in the short-term. According to a report issued by World Economic Forum, 7.1 million jobs in developed countries will be lost due to AI and automation by 2020; however, 2.1 million new jobs will be created. And yet, there will be an emergency crisis to cover the gap of unemployment due to AI.
Policy Debates in AI and Employment ^
In the EU, one of the critical policy guideline for AI & society is the «Draft Report» issued by Committee on Legal Affairs, European Parliament10. The guideline aims to provide legislative recommendations on laws and rules for AI and robotics in civil usages to European Commission. In terms of the employment issue, the guideline suggests the Commission (1) to start monitoring job trends of knowing job loss/creation in many fields; (2) to draft a roadmap for the use and revision of a Digital Competence framework toward an upcoming shortage of up to 825'000 ICT professionals in Europe by 2020; (3) to launch initiatives of supporting women in ICT as well as enhancing their e-skills; (4) the need to introduce corporate reporting requirements, especially on the economical range and proportion of AI and robotics contributed to the industry. This can help draft new governance on taxation and social security. The UK Governance Office of Science published an AI policy guideline earlier than EU Parliament, but with a rather optimistic attitude on the employment issue. They reported that AI and automation will change the type of jobs people do and skills people need, and therefore, the demand of high-skill workers and STEM education will increase as well. Most importantly, the role of government shall facilitate the development of new skills, enable workers to retrain in order to intensify people’s competence in the future labor market11.
Legal Implications to the Future of Work ^
The Constitution ^
As mentioned before, the European Parliament proposed a policy recommendation to urge the Commission to consider a specific legal status for AI/robots of allowing them having a legal personhood as «electronic persons», so they can have specific rights and obligations, such as making legal decisions to a third party independently14, it provoked discussion with pros and cons. If it is feasible, a key debate will be on whether AI robots shall belong to legal subject or object. It might be pointless for an electronic person robot to be a legal object, because it loses the capability to make a legal contract or to afford obligations from its own tort action independently. On the other hand, suppose robots belong to a legal subject then they shall deserve equivalent fundamental rights as human beings. Then, the constitution will have to extend its legal protection of the work right to robots. If so, those public policies of enhancing humans’ ICT and STEM ability and job mobility will improve human’s but invade robot’s work right. Also, to create a safety net for human unemployment will violate the spirit of fair treatment to humans and robots.
Labor Law ^
Civil Law ^
Social Security Law ^
- 1 Unsigned Editorial (2016) Insurance firm to replace human workers with AI system, The Mainichi. Available via http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161230/p2a/00m/0na/005000c.
- 2 John Mannes (2017) ROSS Intelligence lands $ 8.7M Series A to speed up legal research with AI, TechChruch. Available via https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/11/ross-intelligence-lands-8-7m-series-a-to-speed-up-legal-research-with-ai.
- 3 Unsigned Editorial (2016) Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030, Report of the 2015 Study Panel, One Hundred Year Study of Artificial Intelligence, Stanford University. Available via https://ai100.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/ai_100_report_0831fnl.pdf.
- 4 Tim Donlup (2017) Why the Future is Workless, NewSouth Publishing.
- 5 Aaron Smith, Janna Anderson (2014) AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs, Pew Research Institute. Available via http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/08/06/future-of-jobs/ (all websites last accessed in January 2018).
- 6 Katja Grace, John Salvatier, Allan Dafoe, Baobao Zhang, Owain Evans (2017) When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts, arXiv:1705.08807v2 [cs.AI] 30 May 2017.
- 7 Yueh-Hsuan Weng (2012) (4) Social Robots: Robot Companions for Citizens: with Prof. Dr. Paolo Dario, PKU Internet Law Watch, Vol. 8, No. 5.
- 8 Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee (2016) The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, W. W. Norton & Company, ISBN 978-0-393-35064-7.
- 9 David Rotman (2013) How Technology Is Destroying Jobs, MIT Technology Review. Available via https://www.technologyreview.com/s/515926/how-technology-is-destroying-jobs/.
- 10 Mady Delvaux (2016) Draft Report with recommendations to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics (2015/2103(INL)), European Parliament. Available via http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML%2BCOMPARL%2BPE-582.443%2B01%2BDOC%2BPDF%2BV0//EN.
- 11 Unsigned Editorial (2016) Artificial Intelligence: opportunities and implications for the future of decision making, Government Office of Science, The United Kingdom.
- 12 Yuko Harayama (2017) Report on Artificial Intelligence and Human Society, Advisory Board on AI and Human Society, Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), The Cabinet Office of Japan.
- 13 The Constitution of Japan. Available via http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail_main?id=174.
- 14 See note 9.
- 15 Lisa Zyga (2015) Incident of drunk man kicking humanoid robot raises legal questions, TechXplore. Available via https://techxplore.com/news/2015-10-incident-drunk-humanoid-robot-legal.html.
- 16 Nick Bostrom (2014) Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, Oxford Press.
- 17 Kevin J. Delaney (2017) The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates, Quartz. Available via https://qz.com/911968/bill-gates-the-robot-that-takes-your-job-should-pay-taxes/.
- 18 Unsigned Editorial (2017) European parliament calls for robot law, rejects robot tax, Reuters Available via http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-robots-lawmaking-idUSKBN15V2KM.