For some time now, artificial intelligence has been revolutionizing the way we see banking, fintech, retail, education and even the medical system. At this point, it is clear for everyone that whatever future we might have, AI will definitely be part of it. The thing we don’t seem to agree on is how good will such technology be for humanity. On the one hand, a lot of experts believe that AI advancements will bring much value and will help humans improve their existence over the next decades. And on the other hand, we have those who worry that, in time, we might start to change our idea of what it means to be human.
In the summer of 2018, a group of technology pioneers, innovators, developers, business leaders and policy makers have debated on the exact topic and reached an unanimous conclusion. They predicted that artificial intelligence will augment human effectiveness, but also threaten human autonomy and capabilities. They also discussed the possibility of systems becoming so smart that they could actually be better than humans even at what is now impossible for AI to do: complex decision-making, reasoning and learning.
In a recent interview, Bill Gates has also declared that “artificial intelligence is both promising and dangerous, like nuclear weapons and nuclear energy”. However, Microsoft’s co-founder believes that medicine and education can and should be the main areas that benefit from what AI can bring to the table.
The elephant in the room
The matter of whether humans will be replaced or not by machines haunts most of our dreams since AI has become almost ubiquitous in our lives. Nowadays, there’s almost no industry that has not deployed artificial intelligence technology. Banks are using it to detect fraudulent transactions and make predictions, retailers save a lot of time and money by adding AI capabilities for inventory and shelving and there are even hospitals that adopt it to help doctors identify certain diseases. Furthermore, data shows that more than a third of US hospitals actually have at least one robot that can perform surgeries.
With the possibility of machines someday really thinking and acting like (or even better than) us, everything seems to point towards humans becoming obsolete. How not to worry?
FIRST ‘TAKEOVER’ WE NEED TO TACKLE – AI AND UNEMPLOYMENT
Job security has always been one of people’s main worries over the years. And with AI disrupting so many domains, our replacement has become more of a fact than a possibility. Apart from the repetitive and predictable tasks, there are also a number of white collar jobs that might be done (better) in the future by an AI system. Lawyers, doctors, writers or journalists are also at risk of being replaced by machines.
But such technological development will bring so many other changes and innovations that we will not be able to address at once, which means new skills and capabilities will be required from humans. This will lead to new jobs being created, thus adding different opportunities for individuals. The hypothesis of AI creating more jobs than it replaces is also confirmed by a Gartner study, which predicts that in 2020, AI will create 2.3 million new jobs while eliminating 1.8 million traditional jobs.
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Written by Ionela Bărbuță, Strongbytes