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Bill Gates Thinks Tech Could Make Inequality Worse. But He Has Faith in Robots

November 15, 2017, 12:49 PM UTC

Inequality is getting worse and, according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, technology is only going to exacerbate the situation.

“If we’re not careful, technology will actually accentuate the difference between the well off and the poor because if it’s expensive, if you learn about it only in a rich country school, then you’ll have the difference between the well off and the poor people even worse,” Gates said Tuesday at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, according to CNBC.

However, he expressed enthusiasm for the potential of artificial intelligence to help humanity “take on all of the top problems.”

Yes, robots may take manufacturing jobs away from people, but “as we free up labor” we can shift it to addressing “human-centric needs” like education and care of older people, Gates said.

This notion may seem a little odd for anyone who has been paying attention to the situation in Japan, probably the world’s most enthusiastic country when it comes to the adoption of robots. Japan is increasingly using robots for elderly care, rather than relaxing its immigration laws to allow more human caregivers into the country.

Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost recently suggested that, once robots have taken our jobs, new employment opportunities will lie in servicing the robots.

Recent research from the Oxford Martin School in England suggested that the job-killing effects of automation may have helped push swing state voters toward the populist promises of Donald Trump in last year’s U.S. election.