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Ross: Artificial intelligence could make us all obsolete

(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

I was at a birthday party, which for me these days is when a group of people is mutually shocked at how old we all are.

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The subject of artificial intelligence came up, with someone explaining how she is now training the AI software that will eventually replace her.

Soon, we were all reflecting on our expendability. One prediction claims that in 15 years, AI could eliminate 40 percent of all jobs. And not just manufacturing, but accountants, marketers, and even lawyers.

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What if AI replaces teachers? Artists? Musicians? Writers? Millions would have nothing to do but cash their monthly heartbeat stipends, so that at least there’s a market for all the stuff the machines churn out.

Now, we can debate whether this will in fact be our future; whether students will be motivated to please a microchip, or whether anyone would pay to see a piece of software sing.

But what you cannot debate is that once we are totally dependent on machines, we will actually be dependent on the people who can fix those machines.

In our AI future, the troubleshooter will be king. So, learn how to fix things and you will never go hungry.

For in a world run by artificial intelligence, it is the service techs who will inherit the earth. And of course the plumbers.

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