There are many who fear that in the future, AI will do more and more of the jobs done by humans, leaving us without meaningful work. To believe this is a colossal failure of the imagination. The weavers of Ned Ludd’s time couldn’t imagine that the descendants of those looms they so feared would make goods so cheap that people like them would live more richly than the monarchs of Europe, that we would fly through the air, tunnel under the sea and mountains, and double our average lifespan. What wonders might we accomplish with the help of the machines of today if we put them to work on the world’s great unsolved problems? When machines do more of the drudgery, we see that uniqueness, craft, and brand provide a creative premium in the human economy. But we will only get to the flowering of that Next Economy if we make the right choices today. Tim O’Reilly explains why we can’t just use technology to replace people; we must use it to augment them so that they can do things that were previously impossible.
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