Treasury Secretary: AI Threat To Jobs Not On 'Radar Screen'

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin predicted that artificial intelligence wouldn't dramatically displace jobs for "50 to 100 more years."

Although numerous reports in recent years warned of the threats posed to jobs by advanced technologies, the Trump administration reportedly doesn't consider the issue a top priority.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin predicted at an event last week that artificial intelligence wouldn't dramatically displace jobs for "50 to 100 more years" and that the matter is "not even on our radar screen."

Trump frequently blamed trade imbalances for the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs during his campaign for the White House, but experts countered that those positions were lost on a wide scale because manufacturers became significantly more efficient.

The growth of robotics, automation and, ultimately, artificial intelligence could make those patterns accelerate.

Some reports suggested that half of current jobs or more could be replaced by automation. A report last week from PwC said that 46 percent of manufacturing jobs worldwide could suffer that fate over the next 15 years.

Other experts predicted that new, complementary positions would emerge alongside robots and complex technological systems, but Mnuchin told the audience at an event hosted by Axios that forecasts of rapid change due to AI were overblown.

“I’m not worried at all. ... In fact I'm optimistic," Mnuchin said, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

PwC analysts, meanwhile, warned that "no industry is entirely immune from future advances in robotics and AI."

“A key driver of our industry-level estimates is the fact that manual and routine tasks are more susceptible to automation, while social skills are relatively less automatable," PwC chief economist John Hawksworth said in a statement.

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