Artificial intelligence (AI) and other developments in computer science are giving birth to a dramatically different class of machines–machines that can perform tasks requiring reasoning, judgment, and perception that previously could be done only by humans. Will these machines reduce the need for human toil and thus cause unemployment? there are two opposing views in response to this question. Some claim that AI is not really very different from other technologies that have supported automation and increased productivity–technologies such as mechanical engineering, electronics, control engineering, and operations research. Like them, AI may also lead ultimately to an expanding economy with a concomitant expansion of employment opportunities. At worst, according to this view, there will be some, perhaps even substantial shifts in the types of jobs, but certainly no overall reduction in the total number of jobs. In my opinion, however, such an outcome is based on an overly conservative appraisal of the real potential of artificial intelligence.