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Paul Sakuma / AP

If you want evidence that AI technology won't lead to mass unemployment, look no further than AI pioneer, Amazon. That's according to Silicon Valley intellectual Tim O'Reilly, who writes in a recent Medium post:

"Amazon is constantly upping the ante. It doesn't just cut costs. It uses technology to do more, delighting customers with better service and lower prices. And of course, Amazon's customers respond by buying more products."

Amazon isn't using better technology and processes to cut jobs — its headcount is growing every year, while it offers improved service, often at no extra cost. Amazon also supports small businesses that do business on its platform, many of whom wouldn't be in business without those services.

What about the rest of the economy? O'Reilly writes that it's not technology that kills jobs, "but the short-sighted business decisions that use technology simply to cut costs and fatten corporate profits." In other words, it's not a law of nature that more efficiency and wealth will lead to economic and employment growth.

Why O'Reilly could be wrong: It's true that technology hasn't yet led to mass unemployment, but critics argue:

  • AI will soon eliminate the need for jobs considered low middle-skilled, and average workers won't be able to teach themselves useful tasks.
  • Ownership of productive technologies will be so concentrated that there won't be customers with the wherewithal to support new job-creating enterprises.

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Ripple CEO: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.

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