The impacts of automation and AI on the next WPSU 'Digging Deeper'

January 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The rise of automation and artificial intelligence, and their impacts on certain industries and the economy, will be discussed by Penn State President Eric Barron and a pair of University experts during the next episode of WPSU’s “Digging Deeper” on Sunday, Jan. 26.

Vasant Honavar, director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory and Edward Frymoyer Endowed Professor of Information Sciences and Technology, and Barry Ickes, professor and head of the Department of Economics, will join Barron for the show.

“Digging Deeper” will air at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on WPSU-TV.  

Honavar said the types of jobs being replaced by automation has shifted.

“The difference is historically through the Industrial Revolution and until fairly recently, the part of the work that was being automated was physical labor and often work that was dangerous, what people didn't really want to do,” he said. “But I think what's different now is that we're talking about what used to be considered cognitive work, knowledge work.”

There will be tasks in almost every job that are amenable to automation, according to Honavar, and nearly every job will change because of automation and AI.

Ickes said the effect will create a mismatch of skills causing job displacement, and there needs to be a way to address the problem.

“Usually the winners outnumber the losers but the losers feel that pain, and it's up to policy to set up mechanisms to help with the people who lose from these changes,” Ickes said. “Especially if society is going to really gain from automation and AI, where there's big productivity gains and big wealth gains and big GDP gains. That would afford the resources to enable us to deal with the people who are hurt by it.”

Visit the WPSU website for more information on central Pennsylvania’s public media station. WPSU is an outreach service of Penn State.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 17, 2020