As Artificial Intelligence Advances, What Can We Expect?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving, and the choices we make today will determine whether it becomes humanity’s greatest triumph or a force that backfires. Having spent nearly three decades in Silicon Valley, I’ve become increasingly concerned about AI’s potential to cause widespread, permanent unemployment. To explore these fears, I turned to Israel’s leading economists, and what I found was startlingly different perspectives from the tech world and academia.

images 2 As Artificial Intelligence Advances, What Can We Expect?

The Silicon Valley Perspective

In Silicon Valley, the consensus is that AI will achieve human-level intelligence in just a few years, leading to significant unemployment. Leopold Aschenbrenner, a former superintelligence researcher at OpenAI, predicts that by 2025/26, machines will surpass many college graduates in intelligence, and by the decade’s end, superintelligent AI will be a reality. Similarly, Avital Balwit from Anthropic believes we are on the brink of a technological development that could end traditional employment.

Prominent tech figures like Sam Altman, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk agree that we need to prepare for permanent mass unemployment by considering solutions like universal basic income (UBI).

The Academic Perspective

Conversely, economists offer a more optimistic view. Reports from the OECD and the World Economic Forum suggest that the total number of jobs is unlikely to decrease and may even increase. This sentiment was echoed by Israeli think tanks and policy institutes.

Who’s Right?

I hope the economists are correct, but I lean towards the technologists for several reasons:

  1. The Track Record of PredictionsEconomists have historically been poor at predicting crises. For example, Irving Fisher famously declared that stock prices had reached a “permanently high plateau” just before the Great Crash of 1929. In contrast, technologists like Ray Kurzweil have accurately predicted key technological milestones, such as the advent of the Internet and smartphones, decades in advance.
  2. Current Trends in EmploymentDespite economists’ reassurances, the rise of generative AI is already impacting employment in smaller, specialized sectors. Freelance job boards have seen significant drops in demand for roles like writers, web developers, and graphic designers. While macroeconomic signals may not yet show the impact, these early indicators suggest a trend towards AI augmenting and eventually replacing human roles.
  3. The Nature of AI and EmploymentAI is nearing human-level performance in various intellectual tasks. If a job can be done over Zoom today, it could likely be done by AI tomorrow. Employers are naturally inclined to replace human labor with AI whenever it is cost-effective, echoing lessons from the industrial revolution.
1 As Artificial Intelligence Advances, What Can We Expect?

The Need for a Collaborative Approach

Silicon Valley may excel at predicting AI advancements, but it is less adept at addressing the societal implications. Recent technological innovations have led to unintended consequences, such as increased teen suicides and societal radicalization. Simple solutions like UBI, while appealing, overlook the complex challenges involved in implementation and the deeper societal issues of mass unemployment.

A more holistic approach is needed, involving collaboration between technologists who understand AI, economists who can model its impacts, and policymakers who can devise effective solutions. This collaborative effort can help ensure AI benefits society as a whole.


As AI continues to advance, we face critical decisions that will shape our future. The collaboration between technology experts, economists, and policymakers is essential to navigate the challenges and harness AI’s potential for the greater good. The clock is ticking, and our choices today will determine whether AI becomes a boon or a bane for humanity.


FAQs: Understanding AI’s Future Impact

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions), and self-correction.

How soon will AI reach human-level intelligence?

Predictions vary, but some experts believe AI could reach human-level intelligence within a few years. Leopold Aschenbrenner, a former superintelligence researcher at OpenAI, predicts that machines will surpass many college graduates in intelligence by 2025/26 and achieve superintelligence by the decade’s end.

Will AI cause mass unemployment?

This is a topic of much debate. Silicon Valley technologists predict significant job displacement due to AI advancements, while economists offer a more optimistic view, suggesting that the total number of jobs might not decrease and could even increase.

What is Universal Basic Income (UBI), and why is it being discussed?

UBI is a financial model in which all citizens receive a regular, unconditional sum of money from the government. It is being discussed as a potential solution to counteract the economic impact of widespread job losses due to AI and automation.

Can AI augment human jobs instead of replacing them?

In some cases, AI can augment human jobs by taking over routine tasks and allowing humans to focus on more complex and creative aspects of their work. However, there is also the possibility that AI will eventually replace many jobs entirely, especially those that can be performed remotely or are repetitive in nature.

How can we prepare for the changes AI will bring?

Preparation involves a multifaceted approach:

  • Education and Training: Investing in education and training programs to equip the workforce with skills that are less likely to be automated.
  • Policy Making: Developing policies that address the economic and social impacts of AI, including potential unemployment.
  • Collaboration: Encouraging collaboration between technologists, economists, and policymakers to create comprehensive strategies for managing AI’s impact.

What role do economists play in this scenario?

Economists analyze the potential impacts of AI on employment and the economy. They provide insights into job market trends, economic forecasts, and the effectiveness of different policy measures. Their expertise is crucial in devising strategies to mitigate the negative effects of AI-induced unemployment.

Why is there a difference in perspectives between technologists and economists?

Technologists often focus on the capabilities and rapid advancements of AI, leading to predictions of significant job displacement. Economists, on the other hand, analyze historical trends and broader economic factors, leading to a more optimistic view of job creation and adaptation. Both perspectives are valuable and highlight the need for a balanced approach.

What are some potential societal impacts of AI?

AI has the potential to significantly impact society in various ways, including:

  • Economic Disruption: Job displacement and changes in the labor market.
  • Social Inequality: Potential widening of the gap between those who can adapt to new technologies and those who cannot.
  • Ethical Concerns: Issues related to privacy, bias in AI algorithms, and decision-making by autonomous systems.

How can we ensure AI benefits all of society?

Ensuring that AI benefits all of society requires:

  • Inclusive Policy Development: Creating policies that consider the needs and rights of all individuals, especially vulnerable populations.
  • Ethical AI Practices: Developing and implementing ethical guidelines for AI development and use.
  • Public Engagement: Engaging with the public to understand their concerns and ensure transparency in AI advancements.

Leave a Comment