Uber CEO: companies and governments must partner to avoid AI job disruption

Dara Khosrowshahi & Maurice Levy

Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi has called on companies to work with governments to ensure that the progress of technological automation does not cause ‘real disruption’ to some parts of society.

Speaking at VivaTech, Khosrowshahi spoke of the his belief that artificial intelligence (AI) would create jobs but added that the roles it filled would need to see people re-educated in preparation to avoid a skills shortage.

“We have to take responsibilities with government in retraining programmes to help some of the workers who might be displaced to figure out where there are good careers and to figure out what education to go after, look at apprenticeship programmes. It’s not enough to outsource that to governments,” he told Maurice Levy during the interview.

He added that there would be a transition period as well as admitting that displacement would also be the result of technological advancement too.

“We have to protect those workers during a transitional period during which they can back on their feet, and that again cannot be the duty of governments. It must be governments and companies working together – but the most important element here is that the change is happening so fast that we can’t depend on traditional education systems to provide the retraining, we can’t just look at the individual’s diploma, we must provide the retraining in a more dynamic way, through a public partnership. It can’t all be diploma based. Companies and governments must work together to achieve this, or we will have real disruption in certain societies,” he insisted.

His view followed that of IBM chief, Ginny Romitty who also spoke about the advancement of AI and how it would affect work at the conference earlier in the day.

“We believe that 100% of jobs will change because of these technologies and we must be sure that everyone can participate in this world and that cannot mean that every single person must have a university of advanced degree to live in this world. For it to be inclusive, we coined a phrase ‘new collar’ – every job will live at the intersection of these new technologies and of their job,” said Romitty.

Eric Schmidt, the former chairman of Alphabet, spoke about his belief in the good that AI would give to the world, and publicly stated his disagreement with Tesla’s Elon Musk that the development of such intelligent technology was a danger to society.

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