Everyone envisions the future as being filled with outstanding advancements and promising technologies. In a matter of years, these universal advancements may allow for self-flying cars to be usual. Visiting your grandparents on a different planet would become a Sunday routine and having a cooking robot would be a better luxury than an Italian head chef. These ameliorations are all a result of what is known as Artificial Intelligence.
Better defined by Stanford dictionary, Artificial Intelligence is “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.” If you think about it, AI started years ago and each time strikes us with even smarter innovations. For instance, we have Siri assisting and facilitating smartphone usage, bots in video games, Google and Tesla’s self-driving cars. We also have purchase predictions on Amazon (which anticipate, if not influence, your needs) and fraud detections which analyze fraud faster than a single blink of a human eye, 40–60 milliseconds to be exact.
While AI is bringing fabulous innovations, it is also bringing a huge question regarding its threats — -does Artificial Intelligence represent a promising opportunity or a threatening evolution? Answering this question is quite tricky. Heads, the numerous expectations: autonomous cars for smart mobility, superintelligent medical assistants that help doctors through diagnostics, and the so-called CareBots who will take good care of our elders. Tails, the fears: massive replacement of human workers by machines, killer self-driving cars, racist robots, a dominating superintelligence that will make humans obsolete
Shall we think about AI progressively leading to a “Robot Apocalypse” or thriving to new opportunities?
Nevertheless, the new order which is alarming in this evolution is AI’s “Deep Learning.” The major difference resides in how the machine learns from itself. People expect it to take power because of its superior capacities which are immeasurably more powerful than an ethically educated yet still limited brain.
How does Deep Learning function? For a program to recognize a car, programmers will “feed” the program with millions of pictures of automobiles. Once trained, the program can now identify cars in new pictures by association.
Truly, it is us, humans, who give power to machines. When the coffee-pot overheats, we can unplug it. Thus, together we should be able to control AI’s power and orient it to serve us. If a machine behavior results in something that we do not expect, we should at any time be able to shut the machine down.
Replacements in jobs or jobs created?
The main concern, however, is that artificial intelligence is rapidly innovating. I mean, I had to modify this research paper too many times just to keep it up to date. But obviously, this is not the issue. The relevant aspect is that, in the future, countless jobs will be replaced by machines. Unfortunately, this has already started in factories and AI will progressively replace human workers globally.
Not only jobs in factories will vanish for human beings, according to Forbes, careers like accountants will be laminated by sets of algorithms, Bank Tellers and Telemarketing Operators will soon be replaced by software and smartphone applications, and construction workers will be replaced by machines and 3D printers working 24/7. These changes will create a large sum of unemployed individuals. Hence, there will be a major injustice when it comes to the rejected ones. The best example to demonstrate this is considering the two organizations, Whatsapp and Peugeot. Whatsapp has fifty-five salaried workers. It was created four years ago; its value is 19 billion dollars. Peugeot has more than 100 thousand salaried workers and was created more than a century ago; its value is 12 billion dollars. Indeed, fifty-five genius workers created more economic value in four years than more than 100 thousand workers in centuries. Ray Kurzweil, a well-known futurist and MIT graduate, states that “in 2045, artificial intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than all human brains.” In other words, he suggests that at a certain extent, AI can be a billion times more powerful than eight billion brains together.
However, let’s not forget that AI and its algorithms have surrounded us for years and it is true that they did replace jobs. In the meantime, this created new skills and opportunities elsewhere. Consider outdated jobs like typewriting or switchboard operators. These jobs do not exist anymore. Now, think about the various professions that did not exist when typewriters did: App developers, social media managers, Uber drivers, drone operators, or even bloggers. Can you sense the evolution?
Education Currently and Future Opportunities
It definitely appears that we need to anticipate these quickly arriving changes. I believe a relevant answer resides in education. Shall we start progressively changing the universal school’s’ system of education? Or shall we continue forging great Accountants and Financial Analysts? Throughout this evolution, it is obvious that schools have changed; we moved from chalkboards to the Apple TV and from hand-writing essays to typing. While these enhancements were somewhat revolutionary, it appears that we aren’t set in concrete for an impactful education that will transform generations into resourceful leaders in the technology community, the only community of the future. From history until today, primary institutions have been teaching mostly subjects that will not develop young leaders into the leaders our world needs. Even if schools have brought new strategies and methodologies, they have been still teaching the same subjects. First of all, we need to adopt a school system that forms students in areas where Artificial Intelligence can not overtake us. Futurist gurus say that jobs in Humanities are unlikely to be replaced by AI. Architecture, Psychology, Psychiatry, Philosophy, Literature, human culture are secure careers that will never be caught-up by artificial intelligence. Then, we must form learners in the NBIC profiles — Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information technology, and Cognitive Science being the primary subjects taught. Finally, we should create profiles with the necessary job market requirements for us to not be obsolete. If we don’t adapt to renovations in jobs, we will no longer be good profiles for the growingly selective Job Market. We shall teach these three job market requirements to the current and upcoming generations: 1) developing, someone who has coding and programming skills 2) designing, someone who has digital design and photography skills 3) marketing, someone who has marketing and business skills. These factors will become essential skills that will make the difference between candidates in multiple fields.
This will enable us, humans, to not be outdated by this revolution and to not wait for a signal to build its future. AI is obviously not a ready-to-wear suit that we can squeeze the world into, but rather a custom fit dress that everyone should partake in tailoring.
All in all, we should ask ourselves if the myth of Frankenstein’s creature becoming a threat for the human being is now becoming a reality with AI. I’m a firm believer that we should be optimistic for its potentials rather than fearing its threats. AI innovations are irreversible; they will happen even sooner than we expect. Imagine a world where CareBots will give you the chance to care about your old grandfather while working at the opposite side of the world, a place where machines can predict catastrophes and save lives. Imagine a machine that can detect any sickness in seconds through a general diagnostic. Imagine the best out of AI make the best out of AI. With a global change in the education system, we can realize the visions we have for future technologies. AI is a flying plane and we need to build a well-constructed runway to make this plane land safely.
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