The topic of job displacement has, throughout US history, ignited frustration over technological advances and their tendency to make traditional jobs obsolete; artisans protested textile mills in the early 19th century, for example. In recent years, start-ups and the high-tech industry have become the focus of this discussion. A recent Pew Research Center study found that technology experts are almost evenly split on whether robots and artificial intelligence will displace a significant number of jobs over the next decade, so there is plenty of room for debate.
What follows is an edited transcript plus video clips of a conversation on this topic, moderated by McKinsey Global Institute partner Michael Chui and MGI director James Manyika. The participants were Martin Baily, senior fellow, economic studies, Brookings Institution; Richard Cooper, Maurits C. Boas Professor of International Economics, Harvard University; Curtis Carlson, former president and CEO, SRI International; Reid Hoffman, cofounder and executive chairman, LinkedIn; Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media; Matt Slaughter, associate dean of faculty, Tuck School of Business; Laura Tyson, professor of business administration and economics, Haas Business and Public Policy Group, University of California, Berkeley; and Vivek Wadhwa, fellow, Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University.