We fear that artificial intelligence – AI – will be taking away jobs from us in a big way. Although similar concerns were raised during the days when robots were introduced to the factory floor to automate manufacturing – in truth, the impact to the availability of human jobs was not significantly affected. But this time we now increasingly fear that jobs for humans will finally be threatened by technology – by AI, purely because technological development is far outpacing our ability to learn and adapt to new things. The jobs we know today may no longer be relevant in the future. Will there be new jobs or occupation in the future in such AI driven economy? And we know that it will not be easy for us to be retrained, reskilled – to unlearn and relearn new things. Thus, this begs the question of what kind of education should our children be given in order to survive in this uncertain future? Perhaps we should forget about teaching the next generation biology, physics, law, accounting etc. Perhaps we should teach them even more fundamental skills and habits such as reading, creativity, empathy, adaptability, curiousity, research, learning, problem-solving, interaction and the likes. What do you think?
We’ve seen a number of the intelligentsia, entrepreneurs and celebrities warn us of the threat of Artificial Intelligence. Pop culture too can be mined for such images and warnings of the dangers of AI. One then has to wonder how much of this is true and how much of it is some form of paranoia. However, if you were to watch some YouTube videos of interviews with AI Robots – some appear downright creepy and even seeming to indicate that humans are the problem. At this point, we cannot be sure if this was said tongue-in-cheek (I cannot read robot humour), or simply something scripted, or worryingly something based on those robots’ logical conclusion. Perhaps those robots were simply telling the truth based on their logical conclusion based on the evidence. If this is so, what should be our actions before it is too late? Should we ban AI? Should AI be regulated with some form of Asimovian Law of Robotics? Or should Human Kind simply try to prove itself (to the AI robots) that we are the solution, and NOT the problem – as it appears being concluded by the AI. Can we even achieve this within the short space of time before the singularity?
In Star Trek The Next Generation, the relentless Borg collective travelled through space to assimilate various civilisations into the single Borg collective. “Resistance is Futile” was the answer to cries of defiance by the civilisations being assimilated. Similarly, the march of technology is doing the same to our own civilisation, breaking all norms and borders towards enveloping the world. Perhaps what is important is having the resilience to cope with the changes being brought by technology, and being able to adapt quickly.
We’ve seen that the world we know today will change significantly, disrupted even. What is uncertain is the pace and the scale of the changes. We will need to move forward and aim to make it better for all of us in this world. Best we get ready.