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Venture capitalist Roy Bahat invests in artificial intelligence and productivity solutions that could replace human workers. In a quest to understand how these technologies will encroach on the future of work and employees, he talked with workers across all sectors and discovered some surprising insights. In this interview, TED Institute’s curator and editorial director Bryn Freedman picks Bahat’s brain about AI and automation. Though Bahat doesn’t offer any concrete proposals, he does lay bare the essence of one of society’s most pressing problems.


Technologists and policy makers must research how artificial intelligence and automation will disrupt society in the short to medium term.

Venture capitalist Roy Bahat longed to be optimistic about AI; after all, his company invests in the technology. He believed that society’s concerns about AI replacing workers were overblown: to wit, that bank tellers once worried that ATM machines would eliminate their jobs yet the number of banking clerks ultimately increased. However, when Bahat studied the AI phenomenon, he found that its rapid implementation poses a clear threat. He actively sought solutions but found that the discussions always followed circular arguments that led nowhere.

Alas, an impediment to making progress on this issue is policy makers’ and technologists’ failure to communicate with one another. So Bahat collaborated with a think tank called New America to study the impact that AI would inflict on US society ...

About the Speakers

Roy Bahat, a venture capitalist, invests in the future of work. He is particularly interested in automation, data and robotics. Bryn Freedman is the editorial director and curator for the TED Institute.

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