DeepMind cofounder warns governments seriously need to find solutions for people who lose their jobs to A.I.

DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman warned governments there will be serious economic upheaval from AI.
Governments may need to consider extending universal basic income to cushion the blow for workers whose jobs are lost to automation, argued leading A.I. expert Mustafa Suleyman.
Marlene Awaad–Bloomberg/Getty Images

Governments will have to find a solution for knowledge sector workers whose jobs are automated away thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence, a leading expert in the field warned. 

Mustafa Suleyman, who cofounded the London-based lab DeepMind, later sold to Google in 2014, told attendees of the GIC Bridge Forum event in San Francisco on Tuesday that policymakers needed to step up and provide some form of aid, such as universal basic income (UBI).

“That needs material compensation,” said Suleyman, according to a report by the Financial Times. “This is a political and economic measure we have to start talking about in a serious way.” 

In March, Goldman Sachs argued generative A.I. that can create content almost indistinguishable from a human, like Midjourney and ChatGPT, could leave 300 million full-time workers across the U.S. and Europe out of a job. 

“Unquestionably, many of the tasks in white-collar land will look very different in the next five to 10 years,” Suleyman continued. 

The warning from the DeepMind cofounder, who has since gone on to launch a new startup called Inflection with the aid of LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman, is not the first from a leading mind in the field of tech.

In March, Elon Musk added his name to Steve Wozniak’s and a long list of other distinguished signatories pushing for a delay in advanced A.I. research. 

They argued that decisions about A.I. “must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders” and that more powerful systems should only “be developed once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, meanwhile, has attempted to assuage concerns about his ChatGPT and DALL-E products, arguing a lot of people will be made very rich by A.I. in the process. 

Social unrest sparked by those left behind

Just how many people could also be made extremely poor is the real question that could prove explosive—particularly for the two countries that DeepMind effectively calls home: the U.K. and the United States. 

Should tens of millions of knowledge sector workers or more lose their job through generative A.I., without any real plan to cushion the blow, the resulting upheaval could prove significantly disruptive. 

“There are going to be a serious number of losers [that] will be very unhappy, very agitated,” warned Suleyman.

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