Connoisseurs of cool, Brian Eno, 67 and Yanis Varoufakis, 54, on economists and why you're job is going to be stolen by a robot

Photo by David Levene

Photo by David Levene

Eno: No, economists are much more showbiz than pop stars now. You know Prospect Magazine? Every year they have 50 leading figures, and last year 17 of them were economists. You were one of them. I was in there once, but artists aren’t important any more.

Varoufakis: When there is an earthquake seismologists become important. Now we have an economic crisis, economists are important.


Varoufakis: Services are going to require a lot fewer people as a result of artificial intelligence, so the call centres and paralegal professions will be replaced by robots who can do the job better. Turing said if we can communicate with a machine and we can’t tell it’s a machine, then we can assume that machine is intelligent. Now the Turing test has been passed, that will destroy hundreds of millions of jobs. But will the ones created, making this artificial intelligence, be enough to replace the ones lost? So far with capitalism, every labour-saving technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. The car destroyed jobs for horsemen and stage coach people, but then auto workers and those building the motorways and petrol stations brought more jobs than they destroyed.

For the first time, we are running the risk that technology will destroy a lot more jobs than it creates. Now, philosophically, what’s wrong with machines doing our work for us?

Eno: We’re happy to accept that they do a lot already.

Read the full interview at The Guardian.




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