Google exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant

Google exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant
By Marguerite Ward Friday, 21 Apr 2017 | 4:08 PM ET

If self-made billionaire Mark Cuban was starting college right now, he'd choose philosophy as his major over accounting.

That's because he strongly believes artificial intelligence will automate many jobs involving technical tasks, such as an accountant's. Jobs that rely more on personal judgement, critical thinking and creativity — skills more often associated with a liberal arts degree — are less at risk, he says.

"Knowing how to critically think and assess them from a global perspective I think is going to be more valuable," Cuban said, speaking at SXSW in March, "than what we see as exciting careers today which might be programming or CPA or those types of things."

While liberal arts majors such as philosophy, sociology or English have been deemed some of the worst in terms of job prospects, Cuban says that they will be more valuable in the future.

Google exec Jonathan Rosenberg, adviser to Alphabet's CEO Larry Page, agrees.

"I think that Mark Cuban is right," Rosenberg tells CNBC. "We need more traditional liberal arts grads."

Google executive Jonathan Rosenberg and executive Chairman EricSchmidt, co-authors of "How Google Works."
Rob Kim/Getty Images
Google executive Jonathan Rosenberg and executive Chairman EricSchmidt, co-authors of "How Google Works."
Jobs that require strong cognitive abilities and analytical thinking will be very difficult to replace with AI, according to the Google exec, who previously was the SVP of product for the company.

"I would tell people to follow their passion, even if it's in something that doesn't have an obvious job prospect," Rosenberg says, "but teaches you how to think."

Technology will impact some 60 percent of all occupations, according to a July 2016 report by McKinsey. For professionals in these jobs, the report says, 30 percent or more of their activities will be automated over the next several years.

Jobs that require high levels of creativity or people management are the least at risk, the report says.

Cuban and Rosenberg aren't the only tech leaders talking about AI's impact on the job market.

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and dozens of other leaders penned an open letter in 2015 about the potential dangers AI poses to jobs and humanity. Musk says that so many jobs will be replaced by AI it may lead to the creation of a universal basic income, with governments providing citizen's with a wage.

But finding a job with a degree in philosophy is a lot harder than finding a job in say, computer science. It may also be more difficult for liberal arts grads to land a high-paying job, or a role with a healthy starting salary.

But according to Rosenberg and Cuban, a liberal arts degree may still be your best insurance against the coming robot workforce.



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