Innovation, Value, and the Way We Work 

Curt Carlson: Innovation and Jobs

Every day there is another article about how automation will decimate the workforce. Ray Kurzweil says computer intelligence will catch up with humans by 2029. Does that mean we have only 14 years of dominance left? If true, why bother doing anything at this point?

Predicting the future is impossible; no one is there yet. But the history of artificial intelligence suggests it is harder and progress is slower than imagined, even with exponential improvement in the underlying technologies.

Human brains are extremely complicated and everyone has different capabilities and experiences. This creates novel perspectives that help individuals focus on different jobs and uncover new innovations. Having artificial intelligence that emulates these different human attributes and “replace” us is a grand challenge that will take time. Of course, increasingly there will be computer capabilities that go well beyond the likes of Siri. And Ray Kurzweil might observe that this not a question of if, just when. That is likely true but it matters. We need time to adapt.

In this video I talk about these issues, the importance of innovation, and now to improve our success.  It is from an annual conference in Silicon Valley on the connection between innovation and jobs organized by David Nordfors and his i4j organization.  

Today there is an abundance of opportunities for new innovations. To take advantage of them, and create the meaningful jobs we need, we must greatly improve our innovative performance, train professionals in value creation, and increase our national competitiveness. We know how to do this, although such change is difficult.  Creating the jobs and prosperity needed through innovation is, for the foreseeable future, up to us.