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Episode Info: The O'Reilly Radar Podcast: The value humans bring to AI, guaranteed job programs, and the lack of AI productivity.This week, I sit down with Tom Davenport. Davenport is a professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College, the co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, a fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and a senior advisor for Deloitte Analytics. He also pioneered the concept of “competing on analytics.” We talk about how his ideas have evolved since writing the seminal work on that topic, Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning; his new book Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines, which looks at how AI is impacting businesses; and we talk more broadly about how AI is impacting society and what we need to do to keep ourselves on a utopian path.Here are some highlights: How AI will impact jobs In terms of AI impact, there are various schools of thought. Tim O'Reilly's in the very optimistic school. There are other people in the very pessimistic school, thinking that all jobs are going to go away, or 47% of jobs are going to go away, or we'll have rioting in the streets, or our robot overlords will kill us all. I'm kind of in the middle, in the sense that I do think it's not going to be an easy transition for individuals and businesses, and I think we should certainly not be complacent about it and assume the jobs will always be there. But I think it's going to take a lot longer than people usually think to create new business processes and new business models and so on, and that will mean that the jobs will largely continue for long periods. One of my favorite examples is bank tellers. We had about half a million bank tellers in the U.S. in 1980. Along come ATMs and online banking, and so on. You'd think a lot of those tasks would be replaced. We have about half a million bank tellers in the United States in 2016, so... Nobody would recommend it as a growth career, and it is slowly starting to decline, but I think we'll see that in a lot of different areas. And then I think there will be a lot of good jobs working alongside these machines, and that's really the primary focus of our book [Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines] was identifying five ways that humans can add value to the work of smart machines. The appeal of augmentation Think about what is it that humans bring to the party. Automation, in a way, is a kind of a downward spiral. If everybody's automating something in an industry, the prices decline, and margins decline, and innovation is harder because you’ve programmed this system to do things a certain way. So, as a starting assumption, I think augmentation is a much more appealing one for a lot of organizations than, ‘We're going to automate all the jobs away.’ Guaranteed job programs If I were a leader in the United States, I would say the people who are going to need the most help are not...
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