Gro Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway, issued a warning to governments and technology companies around the world on Tuesday as they race to develop the latest artificial intelligence (AI) systems.
Those that see their jobs displaced by robots in coming decades will need to be looked after, said Brundtland, who served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway (1981, 1986 — 89, and 1990 — 96).
“People who are not able to adapt or re-train into the society that is there have to be taken care of,” said Brundtland at the UBS Future of Work conference in London when she was asked if humans need to prepare for an AI revolution.
Self-thinking computers and machines are poised to take five million human jobs by 2020, according to the World Economic Forum. They also have the potential to reduce energy consumption and significantly advance scientific research into diseases like cancer.
The former Labour politician made her comments after Wired editor David Rowan gave a presentation where he claimed that robots will replace jobs across all walks of life, from taxi drivers and accountants to surgeons and solicitors.
“I’m sure that what he (David Rowan) is describing is something that is coming,” said Brundtland.
Brundtland said that it’s up to governments to regulate new sci-fi technologies as they start to turn into a reality. “That’s my assessment of this,” she said.
“Although I’m 78, as I’m listening to the future of the working life and society, I realise people have to be younger than me to be those who are going to carry through these things,” she continued. “But many of the same principles that have dominated my own thinking are still there.”
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