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Physical Attraction


We are the podcast that explains ideas in physics, one chat-up line at a time. Not just a physics podcast, though - interviews with scientists, scholars, authors and reflections on the history and future of science and technology are all in the wheelhouse.

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Jun 1, 2018

Last episode on the Future of Work, I described the problem – artificial intelligence is going to potentially make a lot of people unemployed in the near-term future; and the range of opinions, you can kind of pick and mix from:

It’s the robot job apocalypse! Society as we know it will soon be over!

It’s okay, we’ll just give everyone a Universal Basic Income and they can all start small businesses or learn to code or something.

It’s okay, we’ll just retrain everyone so that all the coal miners are making solar panels now.

It’s okay, AI won’t replace that many people and has been greatly exaggerated; just because a job has the potential to be automated, doesn’t mean that it will be automated. Instead AI will become a tool that enhances our productivity

It’s okay, AI will replace a lot of people but we’ll just come up with new jobs. No one is smashing spinning jennys nowadays and there aren’t thousands of unemployed loom-weavers on the streets of Manchester because everyone moved on, got new demands, and now they all work in PR.

As for me – I fall in the middle of the two extreme viewpoints, the “we’re all doomed” and “it’s fine” viewpoints. Nice and convenient, you might say. Let me explain in a rant. 


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