The robots are coming, but whether they will be working on behalf of society or a small cadre of the super-rich is very much in doubt. Driverless cars, robotic helpers, and intelligent agents that promote our interests have the potential to usher in a new age of affluence and leisure — but the transition may be protracted and brutal unless we address the two great scourges of the modern developed world: volatile labor markets and income inequality. Innovative, free-market adjustments to our economic system and social policies are likely to be necessary to avoid an extended period of social turmoil.
Jerry Kaplan is widely known as an artificial intelligence expert, technical innovator, bestselling author, and futurist. He is currently a Fellow at the Center for Legal Informatics at Stanford University Law School and teaches philosophy, ethics, and impact of artificial intelligence as a visiting lecturer in the Computer Science department. His latest book, “Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” (Yale University Press) was selected by The Economist magazine as one of the top ten science and technology books of 2015, and is available in Chinese and Korean. His non-fiction narrative “Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure” was named one of the top ten business books by Business Week, is available in Chinese, Japanese, and Portuguese, and was optioned to Sony Pictures. Kaplan is the co-founder of four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies. As an inventor and entrepreneur, Kaplan was a key contributor to the creation of numerous familiar technologies including tablet computers, smart phones, online auctions, and social computer games. Kaplan holds an MSE and PhD in Computer and Information Science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence, from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Chicago.