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Opinion

Invest in Technology With Social Benefits

By Arun Sundararajan

Arun Sundararajan headshot article

As the cognitive capabilities of machines expand, the economy will need less STEM education in its workforce, and more design thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity instead.

Fears of widespread automation and an imminent “world without work” have risen as advances in digital technology herald the emergence of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence. A distinct air of technological determinism – that the technology by itself dictates its broader economic and societal impacts – surrounds these dire predictions, while ignoring the political and organizational factors that often shape the nature and pace of social change. Society can amplify automation's benefits while limiting its harm.

Government policy and research funding should favor the development of artificial intelligence that expands human capabilities rather than substituting for them. For example, artificial intelligence-based medical diagnostics systems and instructional technology can broadly expand the reach of health care and education, especially in less prosperous countries, by empowering a broader fraction of the population to participate in these professions.

Read the full article as published in The New York Times

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Arun Sundararajan is a Professor of Information, Operations and Management Sciences, Robert L. & Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow, and Doctoral Coordinator of IOMS-Information Systems.