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Nick Amoscato / Flickr cc

There's a 50% chance AI machines will accomplish virtually every task better and more cheaply than human workers in the next 45 years, and once that is achieved, AI systems will rapidly become superior to humans, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Oxford and Yale.

Timeline of advancement: The research shows that there is a 50% chance AI will automate all human jobs in the next 122 years, but in certain tasks, humans will be outperformed much sooner:

  • AI will surpass humans in language translation by 2024, writing high-school essays by 2026, truck driving by 2027, retail work by 2031, writing a bestselling book by 2049, and working as a surgeon by 2053, the research said.

The bottom line: Researchers believe that acceleration of high-level machine intelligence (HLMI) will happen in less than 50 years, and bring with it potentially "catastrophic" risks for society that must be prepared for.

The potential risks: In addition to possible unemployment, the study notes that the transition to a world run by AI machines would bring new challenges, "such as rebuilding infrastructure, protecting vehicle cyber-security, and adapting laws and regulations."

The study's caveats: The researchers collected data from some 352 researchers who responded to their survey, and the predictions for how fast and how drastic an intelligence explosion would arise varied by geographic region. For example, the study notes that Asian respondents expected HLMI in 30 years, while North American researchers pegged it at 74 years.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a powerful and potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring an array of hazards, from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten coastal property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

2 hours ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."