I dunno why Balaji Srinivasan is held up as such a genius or expert when almost everything he says is wrong.
The reply is astute and funny. As I have argued, the threat of AI job loss is way overblown. A doctor does a lot more than diagnose, and not every diagnosis can be made remotely, such as colonoscopies, MRIs, or electrocardiography. But what would I know. I am not a ‘professional expert’ with 745.3K Twitter followers.
It’s hard to think of any industries or jobs that have been entirely eliminated due to AI/automation. Go ahead and try to think of at least four. Right now. Stuck? Horses and buggies…that’s one. Or maybe those monks from antiquity who transcribed documents. That’s two. Typewriter salesmen/repair? That’s three. Punched card machine operator? Four. We’re talking a handful of professions over a 1000+ year period out of probably thousands of jobs.
Instead of technology destroying jobs, what happens is those old jobs still find a niche or the old technologies/jobs coexist with the new ones. Also, the process is glacial-slow. Punched card machines overlapped with digital computers for decades until finally being made obsolete for good in the mid 80s. The old technologies sometimes never go away: typewriters are still used. Same for calligraphy. Stagecoaches have found a niche too and are still seen on some city streets.
As society becomes wealthier and bigger, it means there will always be some holdouts who will pay a premium for old technology, like homemade churned butter or Amish furniture. This premium and niche market keeps the old technologies alive in perpetuity.
Self-checkout kiosks have existed since as far back as 2007, yet cashiers have not been eliminated either. The machines are prone to breaking or giving errors, so this means that humans are needed to supervise the machines (and also because of unscrupulous customers either ‘forgetting’ to scan items or playing games with the item weights). Also, stores still have regular cashiers, too. So rather than the kiosks making all cashiers obsolete, only replaced about half of them.