The United States’ Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, was talking to Axios’ Mike Allen when he revealed that the automation of jobs wasn’t even on his ‘radar screen’, and believes that it is 50 to 100 more years away.
The topic of automation of jobs is a source of much debate in the business world. People are worried about how many jobs will be lost to the advancement of AI, however, a recent study made PwC also added that this new technology would create new professions in the process. Yet, if the United States’ Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, is to be believed the US doesn’t think that its a matter worth worry about at the moment and believes that it’s “50 to 100 more years away.”
While talking to Axios’ Mike Allen on Friday, the Treasury Secretary was asked to address to concerns of people like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk regarding the potential loss of jobs to automation. His response confirmed that it isn’t something this current administration is very concerned about.
“We had an Axios event the other day with Mark Cuban who was very focused on artificial intelligence and how that was going to affect the workforce,” Allen divulged. “What’s your take on that?”
“I think that is so far in the future, in terms of artificial intelligence taking over American jobs, I think we’re, like, so far away from that, that’s, uh… not even on my radar screen,” Mnuchin replied nervously.
Allen then pressed him for a more specific answer, to which Mnuchin replied, twitching as he did so,“Far enough that it’s…” His answer then trailed off in to awkward laughter, so Allen asked, “Seven more years?”
“Seven more years,” Mnuchin hesitated. “I think it’s 50 to 100 more years.”
Steve Mnuchin is not concerned one bit with AI and automation. pic.twitter.com/VvEooCoAbf
— Axios (@axios) March 24, 2017
Mnuchin’s response to this pertinent question could be proof that the US government doesn’t want to admit that automation is a threat to US jobs, since one of their manifesto pledges was to get people back into working in factories. It wouldn’t look too good for Trumps administration if robots got those jobs instead. Yet, it probably just demonstrates Mnuchin’s lack of knowledge in this area. It could very well be a mixture of both.
What is certain is that the automation of jobs is far less than 50 or 100 years away. It’s happening right now, yet as PwC’s report stated, it shouldn’t be seen as a negative since automation will lead to the creation of countless new professions and demand in other areas such as healthcare and social care.
As John Hawksworth, the co-author of said report, exclusively revealed to AIBusiness.com, “This could include, for example, increased employment of doctors, nurses and social care workers to deal with the demands of an ageing population. It might also include a range of personal service providers for the winners from digitisation, including everything from fashion designers and chefs to personal shoppers, hairdressers and fitness trainers.”