The Mother of All Disruptions

The Mother of All Disruptions

his is not to say that AI optimists don’t have plenty of evidence on their side. AI, defined as “fully autonomous machines that don’t need a human operator and can be reprogrammed to perform several manual tasks,” is already helping save workers’ lives and limbs. Much of this is happening not because machines are replacing humans but because they are helping them do their jobs more efficiently and safely. Military drones are an obvious example. Drones don’t reduce the need for soldiers—humans still need to operate and service the machines—but they do lessen the need for soldiers and military-intelligence officers on treacherous battlefields or in jets at risk of antiaircraft attacks. Similarly, firefighters use drones to get a live-video look at a forest fire or to search for victims before sending men into danger. In March, the New York City Fire Department used a drone to help place firefighters on a damaged roof during a dangerous fire in the Bronx.

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