Artificial Intelligence Outlook from Four Years Past

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It’s always interesting to take a look back while stepping forward. In this older post from Supriya Prakash Sen, the use of AI technology in the workplace was explored. How does it compare to today’s outlook?

The news has been awash with provocative articles about the future of jobs in our society. The exponentially advancing nature of Artificially Intelligent machines, after AlphaGo turned out to be a better Go player than any human – combined with the power of the collective mind, makes it an urgent question to debate. There seems to be almost no job or field of endeavor that cannot be disrupted – from routine and manual jobs to non-routine and cognitive jobs, all are now at risk of being replaced by intelligent machines. 

Simple example- the other day I saw a conscious robotic arm in the pharmacy of the hospital, which is already dispensing medicine packages more accurately, efficiently and in a more space-saving way than any human could possibly do. Similarly – robotic arms that sort through waste at landfills are more productive, and also cheaper in the long run, albeit replacing work for humans who sort through garbage (sadly, often the first form of entrepreneurship for the disenfranchised). This raises the question, that maybe humans should let the work be done by machines after all- why fight it – we humans were meant for more higher pursuits anyway? Meanwhile robot bartenders are already employed in ships, see video clip: Robot Bartender on Cruise Ship.

Machine vs. Man was never a fair fight. From cameras and telescopes to ships and airplanes and drones, to the newest generation of “thinking” computers- there are hardly any jobs that machines cannot do better than humans.In fact, recent advances in technology and networked intelligence can lead to massive changes in entire societies, in the space of less than a generation. For just a small instance, look merely at what Fitbit can accomplish through scale and peer-pressure – rippling through an entire population, changing habits and behaviors in a relatively short period of time- and compare this with the impact a Personal Trainer can have with one client in a long set of focused one-on-one interactions.

 

Key points include:

  • Extending human capability
  • Universal basic income
  • Virtual rewards replace money

 

Read the full article, The Power and the Fear – Artificial Intelligence and its impact on Jobs and Society, on LinkedIn.