More than half of the human race could be unemployed in 30 years time as job vacancies are filled by machines, a leading computer science has predicted.
A life of leisure could be the norm for a majority of people in decades to come, according to Moshe Vardi from Rice University in Houston, Texas.
‘We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,’ Professor Vardi told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
‘I believe that society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?’
His bleak prediction comes just a year after Stephen Hawking said artificial intelligence ‘could spell the end of the human race’.
Prof Vardi mused on what the average human’s life will be like by 2050.
‘A typical answer is that if machines will do all our work, we will be free to pursue leisure activities.
‘I do not find this a promising future, as I do not find the prospect of leisure-only life appealing. I believe that work is essential to human well-being.’
He warned ‘humanity is about to face perhaps its greatest challenge ever’ as we head to a global rate of more than 50 per cent unemployment.
‘Humanity is about to face perhaps its greatest challenge ever, which is finding meaning in life after the end of “in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread”.
‘We need to rise to the occasion and meet this challenge.’
His presentation was entitled Smart Robots And Their Impact On Society.