Dubai – MENA Herald: Long-time Silicon Valley observer and author Andrew Keen warned today, at the World Government Summit in Dubai, that artificial intelligence (AI) and the rise of robots are not the answer to creating a more equal world but instead will have a major, largely negative, impact on our culture, economy and society.
Keen, who is the executive director of the Silicon Valley salon FutureCast, and author of The Internet is Not the Answer, forecast that AI and robotics would likely prove to be as disruptive as the industrial revolution had been, exacerbating unemployment and compounding cultural and social inequality.
Keen, a twenty-year veteran of the tech industry, questioned whether many of the changes which will be brought about by AI will be beneficial for the world, in particular whether creative destruction would mean new opportunities in exchange for lost industries.
As innovators continue to innovate, Keen warned, not only will blue collar jobs disappear but also white colour jobs, previously thought immune to, or at least heavily protected from, replacement by machines. “How we are going to survive in a world where the robots have taken most of our jobs?” Keen asked. “Paying people a guaranteed minimum wage, to prevent mass starvation , is not the answer.”
Keen made it clear he disagreed with those who predict a bright AI future, saying that governments need to ensure the decisions they make about the reconfiguring of our world do not lead to unpleasant, unforeseen aftershocks.
Drawing a comparison with the rise of the internet, Keen dismissed claims AI would lead to a more democratic, nonhierarchical world that provides opportunities for more people to succeed. Instead he said it could result in the emergence of a new feudalism, overseen by a small group of young, privileged, Silicon Valley multi-millionaires.

Pointing to the emergence of populist politicians, such as US Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party in the United Kingdom, Keen said there was a need to revive the central role of government, otherwise technologies, such as AI and robotics would be used to exploit, rather than empower, people.
The World Government Summit has convened over 3,000 personalities from 125 countries. The summit aims to explore more than 70 topics through keynote speakers and major interactive sessions, drawing the participation of world leaders, ministers, decision makers, CEOs, innovators, officials, experts, entrepreneurs, academics, and university students. A number of initiatives, reports and studies are set to be launched during the summit and throughout the year. WGS 2016 runs until February 10 at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.