By Sara Brown | MIT Ideas Made to Matter | November 24, 2020
Some people are fearful the coming revolution in AI and robotics will take people’s jobs. Satya Nadella sees a way forward. Speaking at the Nov. 18 MIT AI and Work of the Future Congress, the Microsoft CEO envisioned a near future where jobs are “enriched by productivity.”
“Computing is getting embedded in the real world, in a manufacturing plant, in a retail setting, in a hospital, in a farm,” Nadella said. “Now we’re transcending beyond knowledge work to help people who are on the construction site, in care management in hospitals, on manufacturing shop floors, to all participate in being able to do digitized work. And obviously, hopefully the wages go up.”
In a wide-ranging discussion with MIT economist David Autor, Nadella said he sees potential for what he calls “small AI,” how technology can be democratized to empower workers, and how he looks at remote work now and after the pandemic.
The conversation was framed by a final report issued by the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, which found that automation is unlikely to lead to a crisis in which most workers are replaced by robots. Still, there is a need to create more shared prosperity in the U.S. and improve the quality of jobs for low- and middle-income workers.
Here’s what the leader of Microsoft is thinking about the future of work, and the role his company will play.