People in all walks of life are rightly concerned about advancing automation: Unless we find as many tasks to give humans as we find to take away from them, all the social and psychological ills of joblessness will grow, from economic recession to youth unemployment to individual crises of identity.
What if, the authors ask, we were to reframe the situation? What if we were to uncover new feats that people might achieve if they had better thinking machines to assist them? We could reframe the threat of automation as an opportunity for augmentation. They have been examining cases in which knowledge workers collaborate with machines to do things that neither could do well on their own—and they’ve found that smart people will be able to take five approaches to making their peace with smart machines.
Some will step up to even higher levels of cognition, where machines can’t follow. Some will step aside, drawing on forms of intelligence that machines lack. Some will step in, to monitor and adjust computers’ decision making. Some will step narrowly into very specialized realms of expertise. And, inevitably, some will step forward, by creating next-generation machines and finding new ways for them to augment the human strengths of workers.