The tech industry and advertisement industry highly anticipate the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Already now, smart algorithms determine the search results Internet users receive when they search for a topic or key word in one of the major search engines.
Compartmentalization of society
Remember those shoes you checked out on Amazon, or the trip to Italy you gave some thought to by typing in a few key words in Google?
Well, thanks to intelligent machines, capable of learning, adapting, and predicting what you might like based on your past searches, you are always served with an advertisement tailored to your “likes.” And all of this lives under the guise of “enhancing the user experience.”
It’s like every individual is surfing his own pre-tailored compartment store.
For some people, this idea sounds alarming and like a sort of predetermination opposed by intelligent machines. You can imagine it’s like a bubble around every Internet user. Essentially, the more you search, the more you interact with the web, the less your user experience remains random, and the more it becomes predetermined and future projected.
The next Industrial Revolution
According to some experts, the rise of AI and intelligent machines will kick-start the next industrial revolution.
Industry sectors that are already high integrators of AI are the tech, telecom, and financial service sectors. According to a paper by vivatechnology, they also have the most aggressive plans to expand the use of AI.
But even the retail, electric utilities, manufacturing, health care, and education sectors show a growing interest in the AI’s potential “to improve forecasting and sourcing, optimize and automate operations, develop targeted marketing and pricing, and enhance the user experience.”
There we go. In the future, there might hardly be any sector of society that doesn’t use AI to “enhance the user experience.”
Enthusiasts might say: “Well, isn’t that a brave new world we are about to enter?” Not to mention those who have been excited about this new future since George Orwell’s 1984 was published in 1949.
AI and the future job market
What impact will the great scale implementation of AI have on the job market? Will it take jobs or make more?
According to statements in a CNBC article made by Alphabet’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, “Humans will need to work alongside computers in order to be more productive.”
As a matter of fact, the former Google CEO believes: “We have to make them more productive through automation, through tools. So I’m convinced that there is, in fact, going to be a jobs shortage. There is going to be jobs that are unfulfilled, and that the way we’ll fill them is to take people plus computers, and the computers will make people smarter.”
He is certain that with smarter people, the wages will also go up, and so will the number of jobs too.
A word of caution
Not everyone is enthusiastic about the future emergence of automatization that artificially intelligent machines and robots offer. One example is the McDonald’s on the corner of Third Avenue and 58th Street in New York City.
At first glance, it seems no different from any of the other fast-food chains at other locations across the country or the world. But, taking a closer look inside, hungry fast-fooders are not welcomed by a friendly, smiling cashier but by a “Create Your Taste” kiosk- an automated touch-screen system that allows customers to create their own burgers without interacting with any other human being.
According to an article in The Guardian, the majority of people believe their jobs will remain unchanged over the next few decades, but unfortunately, that is not so. “Every commercial sector will be affected by robotic automation in the next several years,” the article concludes.
The article sites the Australian company Fast Brick Robotics, which has developed a robot that can lay 1,000 standard bricks in one hour called the Hadrian X. Two humans would need almost an entire day to complete the same task.
The list goes on, from a supermarket that employs a fully autonomous shelf auditing robot to cow-milking robots. These are all jobs that are currently managed or done by human beings.
Ascension of the human workforce
While it seems that robots and AI’s might take away human jobs in the future, it might also be becoming clearer to some that the level the human workforce occupies currently might have to evolve to the next level.
In the 1940s, phone calls were manually switched by friendly ladies sitting at a switchboard and redirecting calls. Who back then would have imagined that calls could be placed the way they are today, using the devices we use today.
Regardless of how smart a phone is, how many answers a Siri or Alexa can provide, how many bricks a robot can lay, it is we humans who give those computers, robots, and AIs a purpose in the first place. As long as we can keep that perspective in mind, they will serve us and our purpose.
But to get there means that education will need to be adapted to facilitate the merging complexity interwoven in the relationship between humans, the industry, and AIs. We need to define clear algorithmic boundaries beyond which no AI shall compute its authority, and also set up moral borders beyond which no developer shall progress in their endeavor to make robots and AIs as human as “quantum-computingly” possible.