Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Humans?
Everyone is saying that in the future we foresee, artificial intelligence (AI) is coming for our jobs, and it’s coming fast… Will the future tech actually displace humans and their jobs?
Technology is moving so fast that what would have been considered mere science fiction just 10 years ago is now a reality.
ImportantWhile it’s exciting to see how fast technology is progressing, it can also seem intimidating to know that machines are able to create more advanced versions of themselves.
Hollywood movies like The Terminator and Matrix have popularised the idea that machines will one day outsmart humans and seek revenge on humans.
Artificial intelligence is the next exponential technology trend, and it’s knocking on your front door.
This new world is what futurists are calling technological singularity — the hypothetical future creation of superintelligent machines.
Artificial intelligence is set to make our lives easier — sooner than you think, according to experts.
WarningBut can AI take away our jobs? Will AI replace humans at everything we do? And what can be the real consequences for the future of humanity if AI does things better than us?
Will AI replace humans and create an inevitable worldwide unemployment crisis?
It’s a polarizing topic that we’re hearing about more and more: the impact of AI on our lives. Are the cynics right? Does it spell the demise of the humanity, or will we simply evolve? Let’s find out!
One reason for believing that machines will get to human-level or even superhuman-level intelligence quickly is the dangerously seductive idea of the technological singularity.
ImportantIn dystopian science fiction, we are taught to fear the technological singularity — the time when artificial super intelligence advances to a point far beyond human intelligence, with a result that profoundly alters human existence.
Once we reach the technological singularity, we will no longer be the most intelligent species on the planet.
The idea is that this would be a tipping point, and machine intelligence would suddenly start to improve exponentially, quickly exceeding human intelligence by orders of magnitude.
Proponents of the technological singularity behave as if the singularity is inevitable. To them, it is a logical certainty.
WarningHowever, many AI researchers have considerable doubt about its inevitability. We have learned how difficult it is to build computer systems with even modest intelligence. And we have never built a single computer system that can recursively self-improve.
Intelligence isn’t an end in itself; it’s a means to an end.
We humans make use of our superior information processing abilities to survive and thrive in the world. This includes creating weak AI systems.
After all, weak AI systems are essentially tools.
They’re great for doing specific things, but they’re never going take over the world by themselves.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil famously predicted that by 2029, computers will have emotional intelligence and be convincing as people. Even if it takes more than 10 years, though, is it really possible for machines to become conscious?
Perhaps a more relevant question at this juncture is: what is consciousness, and how do we replicate it if we don’t understand it?
WarningHere’s the crazy thing about AI itself: we’re essentially trying to re-create the abilities of the human brain without having anything close to a thorough understanding of how the human brain works.
As valuable as the knowledge we’ve accumulated about the brain is, it seems like nothing more than a collection of disparate facts when we try to put it all together to understand consciousness.
ImportantThe biggest question that arises here, and one that’s become a popular theme across stories and films, is if machines achieve human-level general intelligence, does that also mean they’d be conscious?
The question of whether machines can have consciousness is not new, with proponents of strong AI and weak AI having exchanged philosophical arguments for a considerable period of time.
Most fundamentally, there is the difficulty to explain consciousness, to explain how subjectivity can emerge from matter—often called the “hard problem of consciousness”.
Consciousness is this self-awareness, this idea that I exist separate from everything else and that I can model myself.
Human brains have a wonderful simulator. They can propose a course of action virtually, in their minds, and see how things play out. The ability to include yourself as an actor means you’re running a computation on the idea of yourself.
ImportantTo be clear, we’re nowhere near machines achieving artificial general intelligence or consciousness, and whether a “conscious machine” is possible—not to mention necessary or desirable—is still very much up for debate.
As machine intelligence continues to advance, though, we’ll need to walk the line between progress and risk management carefully.
WarningSelf-driving cars have great potential to reduce deaths from traffic fatalities. But even though humans cause thousands of deadly crashes every day, we’re terrified by the idea of self-driving cars that are anything less than perfect.
Nevertheless, for the broader question of how to respond to and interact with machines, a better understanding of artificial consciousness, and similar concepts is needed.
Will Artificial Intelligence REplace Humans?
Artificial intelligence promises to revolutionize the workplace, thanks to its potential to slash overhead costs, enhance productivity and help drive innovation.
In the near future, AI will be better than us at translating languages, driving trucks and writing high school essays.
If AI keeps growing the way it has so far, then machines will be taking our retail jobs by 2031 and be putting best-selling writers out of business by 2049.
Will we all get to enjoy the benefits of having everything done for us by capable machines, while we take up our favorite leisure activities in the middle of the day?
Addressing the concerns over job displacement due to intelligent automation, Ray Kurzweil has reiterated a point he previously explained to Fortune.
ImportantAccording to him, while there will be jobs lost, newer ones will be created (see below). What these are, he obviously doesn’t know since they haven’t been invented yet.
Predictions vary greatly with regards to the percentage of today’s workforce that will be replaced by AI.
WarningHowever, this also raises questions around social challenges. What happens when a huge chunk of the workforce is automated, and a large percentage of the population is unable to work?
No income brings no demand along with it, in which case the AI driven production of services and products comes to a halt.
One solution could be the Universal Basic Income (UBI), where all citizens and residents of a country receive an unconditional sum of money, regardless of if they are in employment or not.
On the other side of the fence, history does tend to support this theory that the total number of jobs available for humans will evolve and adapt instead.
The introduction of ATMs was expected to decrease the demand for bank clerks, and it did. However, with the decrease in costs, banks were able to open more branches. The overall result was an increase in the total number of roles.
So the question is, is this time different? Will the roles for humans not decrease, but instead evolve and adapt with changes in technology?
The AI revolution is just like the industrial revolution.
ImportantTo put your fear at ease, AI cannot take over your entire job, it can only take over parts of your job, specifically the repetitive and mundane tasks.
AI, enhanced by machine learning, helps us accomplish more in less time.
Technology will cause a shift in the workforce and allow us to focus on higher value tasks such as creative thinking, strategy, and problem solving.
It’s not human versus machine, it’s human and machine versus problem!
Will Artificial Intelligence REplace Humans?
While AI opens the opportunity for many exciting possibilities across industries, many implementation challenges arise. It’s become taboo to discuss AI’s shortcomings and limitations.
AI’s powers and potentials bolster investor confidence. But too many companies are reluctant to address its very real limits.
AI is at the top of mind of every corporate executive. It flames the fire of financial expectations.
WarningHowever, if we want to strategically deploy these technologies in enterprises, we need to understand AI’s weaknesses.
AI isn’t smart enough to do creative work.
AI can plow through a million psychology textbooks in a fraction of a second, then tell you all symptoms of and treatments for depression.
But only a human can read a face and instantly know the right thing to say. This is emotional intelligence, which AI simply doesn’t do. And humans can always improve their creativity.
Another limitation to AI is that machines often don’t know what they don’t know.
ImportantWhile AI is fantastic for interpreting large volumes of information, there is no guarantee that the technology will understand all the data.
The most pervasive limitation to AI adoption is data. AI needs data to learn to perform its function.
WarningHowever, data brings quite a few obstacles to the table. In most companies, data is typically siloed and rarely consistently catalogued and governed.
Artificial Intelligence lacks common sense.
AI may be able to recognize that within a photo, there’s a man on a horse. But it probably won’t appreciate that the figures are actually a bronze sculpture of a man on a horse, not an actual man on an actual horse.
Artificial Intelligence bakes in bias.
ImportantThere’s an increasing awareness that machine learning algorithms encode biases and discrimination into outcomes. After all, algorithms simply look for patterns in the data.
Algorithms get trapped in local optima.
When assigned a task, a computer program may find solutions that are close by in the search process—known as the local optimum—but fail to find the best of all possible solutions.
Will Artificial Intelligence REplace Humans?
Experts say that the chances of human extinction due to AI is very slim — a mere 5 percent. And that may be because we’re further ahead of AI, which is comforting to know.
WarningBy creating an intelligence greater than our own through machine language, algorithms, and AI, are we setting ourselves up for a future where robots are self-aware and self-willed?
It’s hard to tell. It depends on what we do with machine language in the future.
Machine language runs on algorithms that we have designed, on a platform with an architecture that we’ve created.
We have not yet built any self-improving machines. It’s not certain that we ever will.
Improvements to deep-learning algorithms have come about the old-fashioned way: by humans thinking long and hard about the problem.
Indeed, the singularity, if it happens, won’t be a machine takeover.
ImportantInstead, it will become more like a co-existence, where machines reinforce human abilities. In short, there will be a melding of humans and machines as a result of the singularity and the growth of AI.
The technological singularity would lead to a more diverse group of thinkers and would allow for a deeper expansion into humanity’s various expertise.
So, instead of making us obsolete, and as machines become more intelligent, humanity will also grow to become smarter.
As the machines grow more sophisticated, so too will our interactions with them.
Recently, robots have escaped the lab and the factory to work alongside humans, thanks largely to sensors like lidar that have become both cheaper and more sophisticated.
Rather than replace human jobs, Robotics Professor Ken Goldberg believes artificial intelligence and robots will help to diversify human thinking.
ImportantAnd rather than worry about a robot apocalypse, he urges a focus on what he calls Multiplicity, in which diverse combinations of people and machines work together to solve problems and innovate.
A great example of multiplicity in action is what Amazon is doing. In its fulfillment centers it employs 100,000 robots that autonomously deliver products to humans, who then pack the boxes that go out to customers.
One thing is clear; the world will be a very different place, and it will be up to us as a society to make it something great.
ImportantSingularity is not an isolated phenomenon. Organisations across sectors are discussing the future role of AI.
Some embrace it enthusiastically, while others fear that it will replace humans.
WarningBut perhaps the future is not so black and white. Instead of a reality where machines take over the world, it may be that there is greater human-machine collaboration.
The future we’ll see tomorrow is in our hands and it entirely depends on us. That’s exactly what AI has in store for us.
ImportantDespite all the hoopla surrounding it, AI will not invade our capabilities or replace us; instead it will make us more efficient — in effect, superhumans.
As automation replaces more routine or repetitive tasks, it will allow workers to focus more on inventions and breakthroughs, which ultimately fuels an enterprise’s success.
Humans will accept algorithmic prescriptions if they can trust them.
Thanks to explainable AI, humans are “dompting” machines. That is, they are keeping machines at bay by ensuring decisions are transparent, understandable and explainable.
The speed of evolution continues to increase.
Futurists predict that we are only 20-30 years from the singularity. No matter what your business is, to be ready for change, you should embrace your singularity.
When the world moves, move ahead!
Are you facing organizational change? Reach out to me on LinkedIn or leave a comment below and let’s discuss your singularity future.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.