The object detection and tracking technology developed by SenseTime Group Ltd. is displayed on a screen at the Artificial Intelligence Exhibition & Conference in Tokyo, Japan, on April 4, 2018.
Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Alan Murray
April 12, 2018

Discussions of the workplace impacts of artificial intelligence often focus on potential lost jobs or apocalyptic scenarios. But the authors of the new book Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI, Accenture’s Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson, see the glass as decidedly more than half full. The benefits of the new tech and the jobs it will create, they argue, more than offset any downsides.

But Daugherty and Wilson foresee a significant challenge retraining workers for those new jobs. Government, they say, is not focused on that challenge, and business isn’t doing enough to meet it. Moreover, an education system built around four-year degrees may not be a good fit for a world requiring continuous retraining in new skills.

They predict that a majority of new jobs will not be strictly technical in nature but rather will focus on ensuring smart and responsible use of AI–the training, explaining and sustaining of the algorithms. Such jobs will require basic understanding of the new technology but also human judgment and empathy to both guide it and explain it to those it affects.

And this moment is a particularly teachable one. In the age of AI, Daugherty and Wilson predict, virtually every big company will find itself where Facebook is this month: being held responsible for how it does just that.

Murray is the president of Fortune

This appears in the April 23, 2018 issue of TIME.


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