Many physicists, futurists, and scientists have made predictions about what they believe will cause the end of the world as we know it. Some foretell of a nuclear war that will plunge the earth into darkness, wiping out all life above the surface. Others hypothesize that a supervolcano will erupt and decimate the population. Some even believe the demise of the human species will stem from the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and that, in future worlds, machines will take over and eliminate human beings.
Although killer robots roaming the earth, crazed with bloodlust, may sound like science fiction, some experts are betting that AI may be coming for our paychecks sooner rather than later. According to one report from CBS, Kai Fu Lee, a Chinese venture capitalist who invests heavily in AI technology firms, believes up to 40 percent of jobs could become obsolete through the use of AI in as little as 15 years.
“AI will increasingly replace repetitive jobs, not just for blue-collar work, but a lot of white-collar work,” said Lee while speaking on 60 Minutes, according to CBS. “Chauffeurs, truck drivers, anyone who does driving for a living—their jobs will be disrupted more in the 15-25 year time frame.”
Although industrial and machine operator jobs may be obvious candidates for replacement by AI, Lee predicts that the education sector will see a mass influx of AI technology as well. Currently, Lee is placing his hopes (and cash) in several Chinese companies that are working on integrating AI technology into classrooms and online learning environments. According to Lee, AI explicitly designed for schools could “create a student profile and know where the student got stuck so the teacher can personalize the areas in which the student needs help.”