Professor Jason Furman: “Technology can give us new choices and new opportunities so that sense can make everything better, but only if we are the user.”

On January 17, 2019 Professor Jason Furman – Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist of former POTUS Obama, and professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government – gave a talk about AI issues in AIWS Roundtable, which was held by Vietnam National Television (VTV) and Boston Global Forum (BGF).

On January 17, 2019 Professor Jason Furman – Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and chief economist of former POTUS Obama, and professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government – gave a talk about AI issues in AIWS Roundtable, which was held by Vietnam National Television (VTV) and Boston Global Forum (BGF).

Prof. Furman thinks the most important thing to understand is that technology is not a destiny. “It doesn’t tell us what is going to happen to jobs,  it doesn’t tell us what is going to happen to wages,  what is going to happen to our economy and our society,” said Furman.

“Technology can give us new choices and new opportunities so that sense can make everything better, but only if we are the user,” Furman noted.

“Literally, in Switzerland have very similar technology, there’s a lot of people who are unemployed, literally, Switzerland has a very high level of employment. There’s nothing to do with the terminators. There’s nothing to do with the killer robots. Everything to do with are the economic policy, institutions and the culture…”

About unemployment question, he gave an example: “we have had technology replace humanity for a long time, we can work for 4 hours/week and earn the same amount that we earn in 1900 working 50 hours/week. We want to be richer!”

According to Prof. Furman, there are new types of jobs, there are more demand for all types of jobs and our jobs have changed. Technology will replace certain tasks, but not entire jobs. That is likely what is going to happen in the future.

“But the question is: are you going to prepare people for those jobs, give them the skills and the training? …Robots got a lot of quality. They got a lot of people being disappointed and left down. The way to come about that is education, training, having a system that helps place people in jobs. But the most important in all of this is the more innovation we have, the better sets of options and choices we have as long as we are willing to do what we need to take advantage of,” he explained.

Furman said one of the advantages that machine have is that some of these problems may actually be solvable on the machine side than the human side, but only we put an effort into it.

“The reason we should worry about is not that they are worse than people, but we might be able to solve their problems more easily than we solve the problems of people.”