April 2018 Published in Forbes
For many people, the term artificial intelligence (AI) might be associated with dystopian images of cyborgs and super-human machines. Indeed, many fear that technology will ultimately take over the human race, rendering us essentially obsolete.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. AI is an intelligent technology. However, it is far removed from living up to these kinds of scaremongering predictions being cast around by the media.
Cynics will point towards research, which suggests otherwise. What about the University of Oxford study, which predicts that 47% of jobs within developed nations will disappear in the next 25 years due to the proliferation of new technologies?
There’s no denying that AI will permeate wide segments of daily life and have a huge impact on many industries. That said, the outcome of man and machine working together to reach a common goal is a positive one, rather than one to be feared.
Humans will not be replaced
If you take any lesson away from this post, let it be this – humans will not be replaced.
Those concerned about the future of work need only look to a recent World Economic Forum study, which suggests that 133 million new roles will emerge globally over the next five years due to machines. The fourth industrial revolution is not dissimilar to historical technological advancements, whereby new roles were created that people at the time would not have ever dreamed of (in the 1970’s, for instance, the concept of a graphic designer would have been foreign to most).
Additionally, it’s worth remembering that humans possess certain traits and qualities that cannot be replaced. For one, unlike machines, humans are able to use rationale to consider the needs of individuals. This is what stops us from discriminating against certain groups during hiring processes, which is something that AI has been shown to struggle with as a result of deeply ingrained biases (Amazon’s recent use of a recruiting engine, which discriminated against women, is a prolific example of this).
How will we collaborate?
The overarching point is that the future will be one where machines are working with humanity, and not against it.
We already know some key benefits of AI – its ability to automate repetitive tasks is a godsend forthose who work with data, allowing people to focus their attention on more rewarding responsibilities.
Beyond simply making us more efficient, AI can also make us much more effective. Take cyber security as an example. A recent study found that when an AI platform and human being work together, the rate of accurate cyberattack recognition increases. This is because the machine is able to sift through mounds of data and flag potential issues, while the human expert is on hand to identify anomalies and abnormalities to make the final decision.
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, AI can also help us be more creative and innovative: two immutably human characteristics. Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher AI, for instance, allows designers to provide certain parameters to the programme, along with characteristics that they might find beneficial or attractive, and the technology generates a multitude of design options for the designer to consider. This allows the designer to broaden their horizons and consider option that they might not have originally thought about.
Working hand in hand, there is no limit to what human and machine can achieve. So, while AI might not cause the apocalypse, we can be certain that it will revolutionise the world of work as we know it.