One-third of American men between the ages of 25 and 54 will not be working by 2050, according to Darrell West.During a forum to debut his new book, West painted a bleak picture for our future.“We’re already at 12 percent of prime-aged men without jobs,” the Brookings Institute vice president said, forecasting an even bigger number in 30 years, thanks to the growth of artificial intelligence and automation.AdChoices广告Research suggests the finance, retail, and hospitality sectors—where robots are already working to review documents, interact with customers, and greet hotel guests—will be hit hardest, while education continues to rely mostly on a flesh-and-blood workforce.The consequences, West pointed out, will be even worse for African Americans—particularly those aged 16 to 19.“You quickly end up with a situation where young black men are likely to have a 50 percent unemployment rate,” he said. “And that, my friends, is a catastrophe.”In 2016, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers dropped the unemployment bomb: Developing technology has and will destroy jobs for humans, leaving hoards of people out of work by mid-century.“Very likely more than half of men will experience a year of non-work at least one year out of every five,” he wrote at the time. “This would be in the range of the rate of non-work for high school dropouts and exceeds the rate of non-work for African Americans today.”West now carries the torch for Summers’ theory, explaining this week that while the robot uprising is inevitable, there are ways to prepare for these life changes—starting with rethinking jobs and education.How about cutting the work week to 30 hours, and employing more people in the process? Or including activities like parenting? West also argues that schools need to upgrade their curriculum to include 21st-century skills, and that it should be easier for people to change occupations.“If you want to move from the factory, because perhaps you’ve been laid off or replaced by automation, and you want to become an electrician or a plumber, we need to ease some of the job licensing requirements that currently make it very difficult for people to make those types of transitions,” West said in his appeal.Our society is at the juncture of dystopia and utopia, and how we respond to technological changes will determine which road we take.“It really matters a lot in terms of how governments respond, how the business community responds, and how our system of education responds,” according to West. “I argue we control our own destiny.”West’s new book, The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation, is available to order in hardcover for $21.99. The text examines various ways to handle the transition to a digital economy—especially as the “job” eventually stops defining folks’ sense of personal meaning. Stay on target Evan Rachel Wood Just As Disturbed by Humanoid Sophia As Everyone ElseMIT’s Thread-Like Robot Slides Through Blood Vessels In the Brain Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.