By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
June 30, 2017

Good morning,

One of the ironies of today’s economy is that while unemployment is near historic lows, anxiety about technology eliminating jobs seems to be near record highs. That’s because for years we were told the future belongs to “knowledge workers”—and now AI is threatening to displace knowledge work, too.

But the fears are overstated.

In the July issue of Fortune magazine we asked some of the smartest people we know to weigh in on this issue. To start your July 4th weekend off on an optimistic note, I’m sharing a few of their responses here.

“There’s this assumption that it’s going to be people or robots, all or nothing. My experience is that it doesn’t operate that way. It’s automating part of the job, but not the full job. Repetitive, manual work—no one who’s doing it is really enjoying it. Technology replaces and creates. It replaces manual work and creates new opportunities—new tasks, if you will. And productivity creates growth, which creates new kinds of work. It is a virtuous cycle. It’s so easy to talk about it in binary terms. I just don’t think that’s the reality.” —John Donahoe, CEO, ServiceNow

“There’s a huge need to increase productivity around the world, the U.S. included, simply because of aging. Half of our economic growth has come from more people working: women in the workforce, growing population. That source is about to disappear. So we badly need to increase the economic output. One way to do that is to have the robots, the AI, do the work. It has the potential to increase our productivity.” —Michael Chui, partner, McKinsey Global Institute

“Most of us don’t have the reflective time that allows us to be innovative and creative. So we’ve actually destroyed our capacity to go beyond computers. But computers are always going to be more efficient than us. For us to be ­better than technology, we have to find our inner human.”—Lynda Gratton, professor, London Business School

News below. Spend some quality time with your inner human this weekend. I’ll be back Wednesday morning, after the July 4th holiday.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@timeinc.com

 

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