Automation and AI

The big picture

The disinformation threat from text-generating AI

A new report raises alarms over the power of systems like GPT-3 to generate vast quantities of deceptive content.

May 19, 2021 - Technology
AI is industrializing

The challenges AI faces are shifting from what the field can do to what it should do

Mar 3, 2021 - Technology
How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Automation isn't destroying warehouse work, but it is shaping it in challenging ways.

Feb 27, 2021 - Technology
AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

But without changes to tax regulations and training, human workers will lose ground over time

Oct 31, 2020 - Technology
The next wave of job automation will be virtual

Virtual agents could augment human workers in online services at a time of mass unemployment

May 2, 2020 - Technology
Automation is 2020's least understood issue

It deserves more attention than it's getting in the 2020 presidential race.

Dec 8, 2019 - Economy & Business

All Automation and AI stories

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jun 17, 2021 - Technology

How automation led to stagnant wages and inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Automation technology has been the primary driver in U.S. income inequality over the past 40 years, according to a new paper by two prominent economists in the field.

Why it matters: Offshoring, the decline of unions, and corporate concentration have all played a part in widening the gap between lower-skilled and higher-skilled workers, but automation is the single most significant factor, and will likely grow even more important in the years ahead.

Jun 15, 2021 - Technology

Self-driving car design: Less Frankenstein, more iPhone

Luminar imagines Blade, a "golden halo" of sensors, will replace ungainly tech currently on AV test vehicles. Photo: Cruise, Luminar.

It's easy to spot an autonomous test vehicle in your neighborhood: it looks a bit like Frankenstein, with sensors bolted to the sides and roof. But as self-driving technology matures, sensor design is streamlining, too, bringing AVs closer to market acceptance.

Why it matters: The AV industry is waiting for "its iPhone moment — where everything comes together, and it’s clear, and nobody goes back again," says technology designer Gadi Amit.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jun 15, 2021 - Technology

Nudging our way to better remote work

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The HR startup Humu is using "nudges" from behavioral science to help companies to better manage the more permanent transition to remote or hybrid work.

Why it matters: Adopting remote or hybrid work after the emergency of the pandemic will require unlearning the psychological habits of the office and harnessing tools that guide us to making the human connections that used to be automatic.

Jun 15, 2021 - Technology

Your hands-free car drives way more politely than you

2021 Cadillac Escalade with Super Cruise technology allows hands-free highway driving. Photo: GM

Assisted-driving features are supposed to make cars safer and relieve some of the monotony of driving, but if your robot sidekick's driving style doesn't match your own, it could lead to unexpected dangers.

The big picture: Reliable, fully driverless cars are still a long way off. Until then, motorists will share driving duties with partially automated, assisted-driving systems, and they need to know what to expect from them.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jun 5, 2021 - Technology

Grimes: Artificial intelligence is the pathway to "genuine equality"

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Musician Grimes is ready to drop some knowledge: AI is the pathway to the workers' utopia.

The big picture: Grimes' vision has a name — Fully Automated Luxury Communism (FALC) — and it kind of makes sense, provided you forget about the meaning of all of those words.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
May 26, 2021 - Technology

Automation puts a premium on decision-making jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new paper shows that as automation has reduced the number of rote jobs, it has led to an increase in the proportion and value of occupations that involve decision-making.

Why it matters: Automation and AI will shape the labor market, putting a premium — at least for now — on workers who can make decisions on the fly, while eroding the value of routine jobs.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
May 12, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: AI-made music startup Boomy launches

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The AI-aided music startup Boomy is exiting beta-testing and launching to the public, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: While the computer-aided compositions likely won't be topping the charts any time soon, machine-made songs are improving and point the way towards a future where not just playlists will be personalized, but music itself.

May 5, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: White House launches new artificial intelligence website

Photo courtesy of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

The White House has launched a new website,, to make artificial intelligence research more accessible across the nation, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The U.S. once led significantly in the global artificial intelligence race, but now risks being overtaken by China. This is one step the White House is taking to drum up excitement for AI and broaden educational opportunities in the field.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
May 1, 2021 - Technology

New York Police Department retires robotic police dog

The NYPD used a robotic dog like this one from Boston Dynamics. Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

The New York Police Department terminated its contract for a robotic dog after residents complained.

Why it matters: Robots and drones are becoming a bigger part of policing, but their presence makes some people feel uncomfortable, as they've come to symbolize the growing militarization of the police.

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