Last evening, I interviewed the authors of the new book, Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the age of AI, at an Aspen Institute event in New York. The book is well worth reading. While most discussions of this topic focus on potential lost jobs or apocalyptic scenarios, these authors—Accenture’s Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson—see the glass as decidedly more than half full. The benefits of the new technology, and the jobs it will create, they argue, more than offset any downsides or jobs lost.
But Daugherty and Wilson do foresee a significant challenge in retraining workers for the new jobs that technology will create. Government, they say, is not focused on that challenge, and business is not doing enough to meet it. Moreover, an education system built around four-year degrees may not be up to a new world requiring continuous retraining in new skills.
Interestingly, they said the majority of new jobs will not be strictly technical in nature, but rather will focus on ensuring smart and responsible use of AI—the training, explaining, and sustaining of the algorithms. Such jobs will require some basic level of understanding of the new technology, but also human judgement and empathy to both guide it and explain it to those it affects.
Daugherty also commented on the day’s big news story—Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to Congress about his responsibility for the use, and misuse of Facebook data. (Read our story, The Seven Most Awkward Moments from Zuckerberg’s Testimony, here.) This is a teachable moment, he said, because in the age of AI, virtually every big company will find itself where Facebook is today—being held responsible for how it collects and uses the data that drives its business.
More news below.
How good was Mark Zuckerberg’s performance before Congress yesterday? Reviews are mixed, but it was certainly good enough to boost Facebook’s stock price by 4.5% over the period of Zuck’s appearance. That means the Facebook CEO got $3 billion richer through a session in which he told Lindsey Graham that the social network has “a lot of competitors,” patiently explained to Orrin Hatch that Facebook makes its money through advertising, and endured John Kennedy telling him that “your user agreement sucks.” Fortune
China’s central bank has elaborated on the country’s plans for opening up its financial sector. From the start of next month, the daily Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect quota will quadruple. Further measures will be in place by the end of June. “I think that the Chinese philosophy is gradualism,” said People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang. “I’ll be very cautious.” Bloomberg
IMF chief Christine Lagarde says the system of globalization is “in danger of being torn apart,” an event she said would be “an inexcusable, collective policy failure.” Lagarde’s big concern is, of course, the strong possibility of a trade war resulting from U.S. President Donald Trump’s threatened imposition of tariffs on China and other countries. According to the European Central Bank, changes in tariffs could shrink global trade by up to 3%. CNBC
Iran’s government has fixed the exchange rate of the national currency, after it lost 20% against the dollar in two weeks. The rate is now 42,000 rials to the dollar—the official rate had previously been 37,000, but traders were using a rate of 60,000 rials to the dollar. “Anyone trading at any other rate [than 42,000] will be considered a smuggler,” said Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri. BBC
Around the Water Cooler
Cargo Hold Beds
Airbus plans to put sleeping facilities for passengers in the cargo holds of its A330 planes. The compartments would be “easily interchangeable with regular cargo containers,” the European company said. “This approach to commercial air travel is a step change towards passenger comfort,” said Airbus’s cabin and cargo chief Geoff Pinner. Guardian
Sports Rights Raids
The European Commission yesterday conducted raids of several sports media rights companies, including the London offices of Fox Networks Group, part of 21st Century Fox. The raids could presage charges of anti-competitive practices, though that is not necessarily the case. The commission’s officials were aided by national competition regulators. Financial Times
One of the biggest causes of the financial crisis was the rise in subprime loans. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the likes of Wells Fargo and Citigroup no longer make such loans—but they are lending money to operations such as Exeter Finance, which do grant loans to people with poor credit scores. And they’re financing these direct lenders for that very purpose. WSJ
Trump and Mueller
After the White House confirmed that President Trump definitely believes he has the power to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, senators such as Chuck Grassley and Bob Corker weighed in to assert that such a move would be, respectively, “suicide” and “inappropriate.” “It would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” said Lindsey Graham. NBC