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AI and robots are capable of both decimating and improving human work. By and large, they're doing the former. That’s in part because AI researchers are mostly creating systems that leapfrog human abilities, rather than do what humans cannot.
Kaveh writes: By changing incentives that currently encourage the development of technologies that compete with people, experts hope to redirect the future of work away from widespread automation-fueled job loss.
The big picture: As we reported this week, economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo have found AI and robotics are destroying more jobs than they are creating.
Details: Most progress in AI and robotics is measured against humans.
The problem with this obsession: "If your goal is human-level capability, you're increasing the probability that you're doing substitutive work," says James Manyika, director of the McKinsey Global Institute. That is, you're replacing humans.
Some examples of current research that would not replace humans:
Two weeks ago, Manyika and MIT economist Erik Brynjolfsson convened top economists and AI researchers, including Ng, at Stanford to discuss how to encourage work in complementary AI. Manyika and Brynjolfsson will publish some of the resulting ideas in a forthcoming paper.
The bottom line: Both complementary and substitutive AI will end up entering, and fundamentally changing, the workplace. In many cases, substitutive technology will likely be cheaper — and much less fussy — than human workers.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty
Uber is seeking an eye-popping valuation of $90 billion-$100 billion in its IPO —even north of $120 billion, if senior executives are to receive a bonus payday.
The big picture: Uber's main business is of course ride-hailing. It's second-biggest is Uber Eats, its food delivery service. The growth of both, however — while tremendous overall — slowed considerably the second half of last year:
Let's focus in on ride-hailing: For years, Uber's main argument for its high valuation was that it was transforming itself into an autonomous ride-hailing service, and would thus be astronomically profitable by saving on driver costs. Co-founder Travis Kalanick called the shift to driverless "existential" in terms of Uber's success and value.
When it isn't shockingly frank about its challenges, the Uber filing is astonishingly hubristic: Uber says its total addressable market in its various businesses is all money spent, period, report the FT's Richard Waters and Shannon Bond.
Pay attention to this — Lyft, Uber's smaller U.S. competition, debuted on April 1 at $72 a share and rose to $78.29 on its first day of trading. Today, it's trading at $59.97, a 16% below its initial price.
The D.C. subway. Photo: Getty
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty
Switzerland — among the top ten coffee-drinking nations in the world — takes its java obsession seriously, going so far as to stockpile beans for a rainy day. But now, it's debating getting rid of its reserves.
Erica writes: Switzerland started hoarding coffee beans in the early 20th century, to prepare for potential shortages. Today, the government has 15,300 tons on hand— enough for three months, reports BBC.