The history of technology shows that while new technology has always destroyed jobs, it has also created new ones, in part because it makes things that were previously too expensive cheap enough to expand demand. AI will make currently unthinkable things possible. If we put it to work properly, it can lead to prosperity; if we put it to work destroying jobs, that is our failure of imagination. Tim O’Reilly delves into the history of some past technological transitions, speculates on the future possibilities of this one, and shares some thoughts about what is keeping us from making the right choices to govern our creations.
Tim O’Reilly has a history of convening conversations that reshape the computer industry. In 1998, he organized the meeting where the term “open source software” was agreed on and helped the business world understand its importance. In 2004, with the Web 2.0 Summit, he defined how “Web 2.0” represented not only the resurgence of the web after the dot-com bust but a new model for the computer industry, based on big data, collective intelligence, and the internet as a platform. In 2009, with his Gov 2.0 Summit, Tim framed the conversation about the modernization of government technology that has shaped policy and spawned initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels and around the world. He has now turned his attention to implications of the on-demand economy, AI, robotics, and other technologies that are transforming the nature of work and the future shape of the economy. He shares his thoughts about these topics in his new book, WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us (Harper Business, October 2017). Tim is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and a partner at O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). He sits on the boards of Maker Media (which was spun out from O’Reilly Media in 2012), Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and POPVOX.
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