Robots, artificial intelligence and the 'future of work'

Question A: Holding labor market institutions and job training fixed, rising use of robots and artificial intelligence is likely to increase substantially the number of workers in Australia who are unemployed for long periods.

Question B: Rising use of robots and artificial intelligence in Australia is likely to create benefits large enough that they could be used to compensate those workers who are substantially negatively affected for their lost wages.

Collaborator credits: we would like to thank Professor Jeff Borland and Professor Jason Potts for their expert overviews of the results.

** Question credits: this month's poll questions were adapted - from those put to the eminent US and European economists of the IGM Economic Experts Panel in September 2017 - to focus on the impacts in Australia rather than in all 'advanced countries'. For the results of the US IGM poll, see: http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/robots-and-artificial-intelligence-2 For the results of the European IGM poll see: http://www.igmchicago.org/surveys/robots-and-artificial-intelligence.

Overviews of poll results by Professor Jeff Borland and Professor Jason Potts

Professor Jeff Borland portrait

Professor Jeff Borland

By Jeff Borland, Professor of Economics, The University of Melbourne

The impact of technological change on the Australian labour market and income distribution should be relatively limited, according to respondents to this poll.

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Professor Jason Potts portrait

Professor Jason Potts

By Jason Potts, Professor of Economics, RMIT University

The October 2017 poll conducted by the ESA replicated a US survey of economists on topical but broad policy issues, this one specifically in relation to labour markets and new technology. The two questions were about labour-capita substitution effects, and the distributional welfare consequences of continued innovation in robots and artificial intelligence.

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Question A

response graph Q23 A1

NEP Q23 A weighted responses

Question B

NEP Q23 B responsesNEP Q23 B graph weighted responses