“By 2040, I expect that we will experience major changes in our daily lives, both visible and invisible, resulting from AI. These changes are likely to be crosscutting, affecting healthcare, education, labor, recreation, information consumption, socialization, human creativity and much more. A few strike me as especially significant:

  • “Advances in healthcare owing to AI could be especially transformative, leading to extended lifespans, improved quality of life, better preventative care and public health, expanded access, and a reduction in the number of ailments that an average individual has to worry about. Adoption of administrative healthcare AI tools – such as those making electronic health records more-complete and interoperable, and those drawing on different sources of data such as synthetic data – could ease increases in healthcare costs somewhat.
  • “A renaissance in education is necessary. Current and future generations of generative AI will likely lead to massive disruption in how teachers teach, students think and educational institutions operate. Stakeholders in the education subsystem will need to carefully consider how to preserve critical thinking, adjust their pedagogy to counteract misconduct and apply AI education tools to foster upskilling rather than deskilling. Schools and learning are likely to look and feel very different, even if it takes a decade or more for these tools to become saturated, and even if classrooms and universities appear superficially structurally similar.
  • Robotics may become more affordable and pervasive, with increased presence of robots in healthcare, elderly care, education and other sectors. Long-standing questions about aspects of human-machine interaction and socialization will become increasingly salient as individuals interact with robots in their daily lives. Depending on the design of these systems, they may also substitute for human-human relationships, increasing isolation, alienation and other pathologies.

Disruption in labor and the economy is inevitable, if difficult to precisely predict. While key tasks and work processes will change, I expect the economy will continue to foster high-quality and low-quality jobs. Depending on how policy and industry actors approach skill adjustment, education, and the social safety net, work could involve enhanced surveillance and performance monitoring, or alternatively, shorter work weeks and higher productivity. While this direction is substantially up to how decision-makers help realize the efficiency gains of AI, it seems very likely that a large majority of occupations will involve more interaction with AI systems, both directly and on the back end. Significant engagement with AI systems will become a daily part of most workers’ lives.

  • “Less change may occur at the level of political systems, barring incredibly rapid advancements in AI with equally robust political activity. A worst-case scenario, perhaps likely in some locations, is that some authoritarian countries will have come closer to perfecting dystopian forms of social control, such as through pervasive implementation of AI-enabled tracking, profiling and manipulation. With any luck, democracies will have advanced infrastructure and literacy enough to improve robustness against threats from AI-generated misinformation and social manipulation. However, changes resulting from social and economic upheaval, like labor disruption, educational gaps and/or the concentration of new wealth gains due to AI, could nevertheless lead to widespread dissatisfaction, new policy windows and shifting coalitions to advance goals like increased income distribution. Thus, while major transformations of political systems (such as moving away from capitalism or abandoning authoritarianism or theocracy) is not likely, even moderate changes in political alignment and the broadening of acceptable policy solutions could induce dramatic changes in individuals’ lives.”

This essay was written in November 2023 in reply to the question: Considering likely changes due to the proliferation of AI in individuals’ lives and in social, economic and political systems, how will life have changed by 2040? This and more than 150 additional essay responses are included in the report “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence by 2040”