Robots set to replace workforce as AI to ‘eliminate’ all human work by 2040


Vivek Wadhwa, a distingiuished fellow at both Stanford and Duke universities and business technology specialist, said it was now “indisputable” that mankind is on the verge of an era of change similar to the Industrial Revolution.

He said: “This is happening now. The technologies are removing jobs, they are eliminating them.

“In a decade or two you’ll find that robots and artificial intelligence can do almost every job that human beings do. We are headed into a jobless future.

“I know it sounds very scary, but that is the reality of technology.”

The academic said he “doesn’t see how we are going to be able to retrain the vast majority of today’s workers on the jobs of tomorrow, if they exist at all.”

But despite this grim prediction of a “jobless future,” Mr Wadhwa insisted: “I’m optimistic.

“We complain about 40 hour work weeks – who says we have to work 40 hour work weeks? Why can’t we be working 10 hours a week.

“Why can’t we be providing everyone with a basic living income so that they have their needs met, and working becomes something you do when you want to do it – if you want to do it?”

Within the next two decades the human race will have to “rethink our society itself, rethink capitalism, we need to rethink the way we are as human beings,” thanks to the impact of artificial intelligence and robotics.

Mr Wadhwa uses the example of taxi drivers to underline his theory. He says the rise in self-driving vehicles within the next five years “obviously” spells imminent doom for the profession.

“In three or four years, we will have them on the roads, and within five years, you’ll find that Uber starts replacing all of its human drivers with robots. You’ll start seeing this in profession, after profession, after profession,” he told the BBC.

“So how do we take these millions of people now – and retrain them for a new type of job which hasn’t even been created yet?”

However he believes the rise in artificial intelligence should be welcomed.

“I sincerely believe, we have a choice now. We are heading towards the Star Trek future that we dreamed about, or Mad Max.

“And we’re going to figure it out and get towards Star Trek, even though we won’t have jobs the way we had before, we will be able to look after the needs of the billions of people and we’ll find other things to do.”

Last week Facebook announced that its artificial intelligence algorithm can now humans at the complex Chinese board game Go. Google responded by confirming its own program had beaten Fan Hui, the European champion, five-nil.

The software that plays Go relies on pattern recognition and, with the capacity to run a procedure millions of times at great speed, is capable of gradually incorporating, and therefore eliminating, its errors.

Such advances mean robots are now becoming supremely capable in manufacturing, assembly, packing and packaging, surgery, weaponry and research.