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With ChatGPT and the advent of artificial intelligence, the question of the scarcity of work and the future of pensions has been re-posed.

theHave we said enough! Solidarity and the meaning of work are conspicuously absent from the pensions debate, and the blind spot of government reform has pushed the statutory retirement age down from 62 to 64. This brutal two-year delay, rejected by still-united unions on the streets on Tuesday 31 January, reflects Clearly the desire of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to see the French. “do more”, motto of the second five-year period; But it contrasts with the sad experience of men and women living the end of their careers between unemployment and social assistance, far from employment.

The wage society and the welfare state have been closely linked for nearly a century. Pension financing depends on an economy in which work is centralized and plentiful. Constructing outage scenarios is not the job of the Pension Steering Board: its latest projections, published in September 2022, are based on assumptions of the unemployment rate that France has experienced over the past 50 years, excluding any structural decline in employment by 2050-2070. And what if this base is undermined by the scarcity of work under the influence of recent technological developments?

The question is being revived by the recent dramatic disruption of artificial intelligence (AI) in everyday life. in A world without work (Flammarion, 432 pages, 24 euros) Economist Daniel Susskind, professor at Oxford University, explores the potential implications of using these amazing tools, which now have cognitive abilities, creative talents and sometimes emotional reactions, without copies of the nervous system of the human brain.

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The specter of job-killing machines has reappeared regularly since the English Luddite movement of the early 20th century.H Century, loom cutters for fear of losing their livelihood as craftsmen. In 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, economist John Maynard Keynes was already analyzing “technological unemployment”. Then he considered it a necessary evil between two perturbations of the production system, while predicting that a century later the productivity gains made possible by technical developments would lead to “The Age of Leisure and Abundance”, We only worked fifteen hours a week.

“technological unemployment”

This is the old Malthusian trick! Opponents of this utopian vision still cry out today, taking comfort in three hundred years of economic history. Since the eighteenthH A century ago, every advance (steam engine, electricity, information technology, etc.) created new job-providing sectors. It has halved working time in industrialized countries. However, the number of working people has not stopped growing, including in the most productive countries. “There is no guarantee that this will happen again in the coming decades.”Susskind says.

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