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Why Futurist Ray Kurzweil Isn't Worried About Technology Stealing Your Job


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Kurzweil welcomes the coming of the day that computers surpass human intelligence.

Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil says artificial intelligence will be far more beneficial than harmful in the long term.

Credit: Gene Driskell, for Idea City

In an interview, Google engineering director Ray Kurzweil says artificial intelligence (AI) will be far more beneficial than harmful in the long term, and the "singularity" when computers overtake human intelligence should be welcomed.

Kurzweil notes his convictions of AI's overall benefits partly stem from human history, where technological innovation has helped humanity more often than worsened it.

However, Kurzweil acknowledges, "All of these technologies are a risk. And the powerful ones--biotechnology, nanotechnology, and AI--are potentially existential risks."

In terms of advanced technologies eroding the workforce via automation, Kurzweil is convinced the elimination of certain trades by AI will be offset by the creation of new types of jobs. "It creates a difficult political issue because you can look at people driving cars and trucks, and you can be pretty confident those jobs will go away," Kurzweil notes. "And you can't describe the new jobs, because they're in industries and concepts that don't exist yet."

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