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Illustration of a robotic hand reaching out for a person's hand. Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new report adds more evidence to the case that AI can augment human workers, not merely replace them.

Why it matters: We may still be decades or more away from the development of AI that can do everything humans can do, but as the technology continues to advance, workers will need help to get the most out of their new machine colleagues.

What's happening: In a report released on Thursday, the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future dove into the question of how AI will change our jobs.

  • Building on earlier research, the authors found whole-scale job loss isn't likely, and that "the most promising uses of AI will not involve computers replacing people, but rather, people and computers working together — as 'superminds.'"

The catch: Just as AI is always improving by learning, human workers need to upgrade their skills to keep pace.

  • To that end, the report's authors recommend programs that can enhance computer skills from kindergarten through the university level, while urging businesses and worker organizations to build cushions for the sometimes harsh changes AI will wreak on work.

Yes, but: Even as the pandemic has accelerated the diffusion of AI into the workplace — upping the stakes for human workers — millions of students around the country are suffering lifelong learning loss because of COVID-closed schools.

  • "I do worry about this," says Daniela Rus, director of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Reducing the effects "will require effort on the part of everybody."
  • Still, academic education isn't the only way to thrive in a more AI-influenced world, notes Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. Social skills — one talent AI very much does not have — will be increasingly important.
"Perhaps we should worry just as much about students missing the chance to have social interactions with their friends at school as we worry about them missing their academic classes."
— Thomas Malone, MIT

Go deeper: AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Go deeper

Updated Feb 29, 2020 - Science

The next frontier for Big Science

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

In 1945, engineer and science administrator Vannevar Bush laid out a framework for support of science in the U.S. that drove prosperity and American dominance. That model isn't enough anymore, experts said at an event this week in Washington, D.C.

The big picture: With China threatening to overtake the U.S. in R&D spending even as research becomes more international, science must manage the tension between cooperation and competition.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls in the neighboring Plumas County, per AP.