In the 19th century, industrialists had long realized the extent to which humans can be productive and in the struggle to maximize production, found or invented machines that could lift 100 times as much load as an individual, or trains that were driven out by coal and steam, telegrams which could send a message across hundreds of miles and institutionalized industries– The Era of industrial Revolution begun. Over the time those machines became efficient, more productive and started to drive into unchartered territory of Cognition—Artificial Intelligence (AI) was born.
Fast forward to this century, AI is becoming deeply ingrained in everything we do or make; from Amazon Assistant ‘Alexa’, automated mechanical hands to the machine (DeepBlue) that beat the mortal ‘Chess masters’ in chess. AI focuses on designing machines that enhance or imitate ‘human behavior’. It can be an algorithm that can process massive amount of data in a second (processing power is also known as FLOPS) and run simulations. It can be in network of integrated system too, which means machines or algorithms connected together to a single system which guides them or connect them with the relative situation of each machine. Machine-learning—where a machine ‘teaches’ itself on the humungous amount of data being fed or gathered and improves itself when processing a certain task, is also an example of AI.
According to Yuval Noah Harrari, celebrated author of ‘Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’, Humans have two kinds of abilities—Physical and cognitive. Industries were automated as AI competed with humans on raw Physical abilities and eventually excelled humans at manual work. Humans then focused on cognitive skills—learning, communicating. Nevertheless, AI is getting better at that ability too, thanks to machine learning, it is getting better grasp of emotional behavior tendencies. Other than that, AI has two non-human abilities–abilities which humans can never possess: Updatability and Connectivity. All machines connected to a single integrated system can be instantly updated, which can save time in times of crisis and that same system connect all machines with each other. Its implication poses a revolutionizing potential in medical and transportation sector which could save or benefit millions of lives.
Since road accidents occur due to negligence of drivers whose consciousness isn’t connected to each other, A system of Self-driving ‘Uber’ cars will have one single ‘consciousness’ which will update the trajectories of every car in that system instantly. It will avoid accidents by 90pc since all cars will connect to each other and will avoid potential car crash.
In an essay on Medium, AI guru Kai-Fu Lee — CEO of Sinovation Ventures and author of the 2018 book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order” — ‘predicts that 50pc of all jobs will be automated by AI inside of 15 years’. Around the world, it could lead up to billions of job losses. “Accountants, factory workers, truckers, paralegals, and radiologists — just to name a few — will be confronted by a disruption akin to that faced by farmers during the Industrial Revolution”. It could create an entirely new “useless” class where skilled labor has also become irrelevant with the unskilled labor. Defenders of AI argue that retrospectively, jobs lost due to automation resulted in the creation of new jobs, such as management or system analysis and so will this revolution usher into an unprecedented variety of new jobs.
Although not irrational, the fear still exists—but it will take decades for these fears to manifest themselves in reality. Who knows what job market of 2050 will look like?
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by: Ahsan Anwar