THE BLOG
02/04/2016 02:12 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2017

Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu, Explains the Future of Work

How will work and jobs change over the next 10-20 years? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Baidu; Chairman/Co-Founder of Coursera; Stanford faculty, on Quora.

If you're a fifty year old truck driver whose job suddenly goes away because of autonomous driving, what should you do?

Our society is very good at giving skilled people great opportunities. The problem is when some thirty years of work experience is suddenly devalued. In this case, we have a moral obligation to help those individuals acquire new skills and pursue new opportunities.

Fortunately, with the rise of MOOCs and other scalable forms of education (Coursera, Khan Academy, Lynda, etc.), we can do this affordably. I'm not concerned about the lack of opportunity for important work in 20 years---there's so much that humans can do that no machine now or in the foreseeable future can do. But I am concerned about the need to retrain individuals.

I also support basic income, which will give individuals a safety net and a place from which to acquire new skills. Our society today and the political reality is that we might not be ready to accept the idea of paying people for "no reason." I advocate instead providing this income in exchange for their studying. Thus, they're not idle, and we are incenting the unemployed to do something that helps them reenter the productive workforce.

I loved Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee's "The Second Machine Age," which discusses these issues.

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