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Job growth was flat for the third straight quarter in what have seemed to be some of the economy's least automatable occupations, such as AI, cybersecurity and environmental work.
The trend suggests these occupations, too, are susceptible to economic cooling.
What's happening: In its latest index — provided first to Axios and covering the year-to-year period through the first quarter of 2019 — Cognizant reports a 32% rise in openings for what it calls "jobs of the future."
The big picture: Among today's biggest questions are how industrialized economies will navigate the new age of automation. Can they create sufficient new jobs fast enough to absorb all those thrown out of work? And will new occupations pay enough for a middle class standard of living?
"HR has been the poster child of the sclerotic back office," said Robert Brown, associate vice president at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work. "There has to be a renaissance, and companies have gotten the memo. They know these jobs are going to have to change."
Details for the last 12 months:
However, the first quarter of the year illustrated the recent growth slowdown:
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Get everyone in the room: That's the new mantra for AI researchers, nervous about the potential for their technology to decimate jobs and perpetuate human biases. They're pulling in experts from every academic background, including seemingly incompatible ones, to help steer the course.
Kaveh reports from Palo Alto: But sparks flew last evening in a star-studded on-stage conversation between prominent AI researcher Fei-Fei Li and celebrity author–philosopher Yuval Noah Harari.
Driving the news: Li, who is behind an enormous multidisciplinary project at Stanford to inject human values into AI research, often calls for closer collaboration between disciplines. But she and Harari were frequently at odds on stage.
As the conversation turned to debate, Harari warned that AI is setting off an arms race worse than Cold War — and it threatens to renew colonialism, he said. Li responded that international collaboration and cross-disciplinary efforts will save humans.
What's going on: We've reported on how top universities and Big Tech are asking experts in ethics and the humanities for help directing big decisions. Whether they're listening remains to be seen.
The big picture: These efforts come with language barriers.
D.C.'s Washington Reagan airport. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty
Staggering stat: In four years' time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection expects to be able to scan the faces of 97% of airline passengers leaving the country.
But, but, but: Such technology — already widely deployed in China and to a smaller degree in the U.S. — spooks some who are concerned about privacy and government data collection.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto/Getty
Kaveh writes: But even the less powerful system can mimic a speaking style reasonably well.
There’s no denying the power of AI. We’ve built some of the most advanced systems in the world, including in our criminal justice system. But we don’t yet have the tools to turn a fully fledged AI system into a more efficient tool for identifying harmful content. We’re investing so much in security that even our best AI experts estimate we’re spending billions of dollars on it — which is why we need more resources.