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Microsoft CEO Says We Should Be Concerned About Jobs Lost Due To Technology

Mark Lennihan
AP Photo
FILE- In this May 20, 2014 file photo, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, talks during the introduction the Surface Pro 3 tablet device at a media preview in New York.

At a luncheon hosted by the Technology Alliance in Seattle, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella weighed in on whether computers will one day put a lot of us out of work, and his take is that people are right to be concerned.

Driverless cars are on the way, and closer to home, Boeing is automating more of its manufacturing. Are humans destined to be replaced?

Nadella said past technological shifts created jobs in new sectors even as others became obsolete, but he said this time may be different. The answer, he said, is to invest more in education and training, and he said government may have to step in to help people who are displaced.

"If economic surplus is getting created but jobs are not getting created, then that’s another place where there needs to be new policies on how that economic surplus gets distributed so that people are able to in fact be taken care of," Nadella said. 

The Pew Research Center interviewed experts in 2014 about the economic effects of robotics and artificial intelligence. About half said significant numbers of jobs will be lost by 2025, leading to wider income inequality, while the other half said new industries will emerge, offsetting the losses. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.