Darrell West discusses how we should prepare for the future of work

Sophia, a robot integrating the latest technologies and artificial intelligence developed by Hanson Robotics is pictured during a presentation at the "AI for Good" Global Summit at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RC161DD14970

Innovations in advanced technology, including robotics, AI, and automation, are making it possible for our society to be more productive while working fewer jobs and less hours. This transition feels scary and uncomfortable for large segments of the population: When polled, 72 percent of Americans said they are worried about the change, while only 33 percent felt enthusiastic.

In his recently published book, “The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation,” and in the videos below, Darrell West discusses the workforce transformations that are underway or soon will take place. West, director of the Center for Technology Innovation at Brookings, also offers recommendations to the government on how to ensure a successful transition.

Depending on how the transition to a digital economy is handled, innovations in advanced technology can create either a peaceful and prosperous utopian society or a dysfunctional dystopian society. West discusses the societal issues and divides that could be worsened if innovation continues at the same rate without any policy changes from the federal government.

One of the most difficult challenges our society will face is identifying what counts as “work” when the traditional, long-term, nine-to-five job is rare. West argues that we should expand the definition of work to encompass volunteering, parenting, care-giving, and other activities.

Health care, security, and other industries are already reaping the benefits of breakthroughs in robotics, AI, and automation. As West explains, these breakthroughs are sure to be disruptive influences in the workforce—but the change can be positive if accompanied by the appropriate government reforms.

For more, buy Darrell West’s book, “The Future of Work: Robotics, AI, and Automation