Artificial Intelligence was one of the top trends in 2018 which reshaped business strategies. Yet, it’s time to ask the awkward question, at what cost?
One of the key factors in deciding how anxiety-inducing the adoption of artificial intelligence should be. Is to consider the hands the technology is held within. You can make your own minds up whether international governments and bodies of power can be trusted with artificial intelligence. But if even Elon Musk is daunted by AI and believes that the threat that AI machines pose are greater than nuclear warheads, it’s safe to say that we should be too.
Yet, this was always going to be the next step in our human evolution, from the dawn of Science Fiction it has been hotly anticipated. But, now that we know that the robots are coming, are we still as excited now that the faces of our future are finally ready to greet us?
The Exponential Evolution of AI
Whilst AI has been embedded in our everyday lives for quite some time now, what we have experienced so far is just the tip of the iceberg. For generations we have been under the illusion that the impact of the introduction of more prominent AI in our society will have a progressive, and maybe even profound effect on our quality of lives. Yet, have we really given enough thought to the future as to what will happen as many of our human activities are taken over by AI?
If the majority of the manual labour that makes our societies function now were to be taken over by AI, where will that leave manual labourers? Humans don’t need jobs because jobs need doing. Humans need jobs because society has been built on the foundation that to be a productive member of society you need to be contributing to the tax system. Now, of course there’s the argument that even when AI replaces all of checkout staff in stores, warehouse operations, and so forth that there will be more jobs opened up to the public. These jobs are going to revolve around maintaining and overseeing the functioning of the AI.
There’s a significant flaw in that plan. The unskilled workers who worked in manual labour jobs previously won’t be suddenly qualified to take on such roles. Once skillsets are made obsolete, it’s not all that easy to suddenly acquire a technical one. Yet, it’s not even just unskilled workers who are set to be replaced by AI. Over one third of US hospitals have at least one robot on hand to help surgeons operate, and they not only match our skill sets and knowledge. They will quickly come to beat it. As was seen when an AI machine created by Alibaba created history by being the first Ai to beat a human at a reading comprehension test.
Usually, we think of austerity, poverty and homelessness as experiences only faced by the lower social classes, yet, AI isn’t going to discriminate in the jobs it takes over. Practically every industry you can think of will be taken over by AI. From transportation to real estate, from law to construction. Doctors, journalists, and lawyers should even be left a little anxious about how the job market is set to change.
Where an AI-Led Future Will Take Us
This is no mere futurist fantasy. Google’s Doctor of Engineering predicted that society will be reshaped by 2030 and we’ll receive a new universal basic income. Considering that he’s been correct with 86 percent of the predictions he has made since 1990, his word is as good as any. However, his assurance in terms of availability and generosity from the bodies which will grant the universal basic income is slightly unrealistically optimistic. Can Western societies which have operated under Capitalism for so long work in a more socialist way? People will have to find new purposes and meanings to their lives, rather than basing their identity on their income and occupation. But that’s easier said than done.
To avoid getting left behind in the AI take over, it is imperative that as a society we strive to look for the skill-gaps that the AI replacements will leave. Engineers and software specialists in the field of AI will always be required. We have all seen how technology and digitalisation has done to our usual brick and mortar stores and establishments. Take casinos for example, the rise in popularity of online casinos such as Money Reels have moved us away from the traditional casino experience, providing players with the ability to play their favourite casino games such as slot machines from the comfort of their home. In addition, online slots also provide a more progressive gameplay experience and can tailor the games to individual preferences. No one can deny the advancements in technology over the past few decades have provided us with a standard of living none of our ancestors could even dream about.
Yet, the real problem with AI besides the future of our industries being altered, is the likelihood of AI evolving beyond our control. The US, China and Russia are all competing in the race to build the most significant AI. Given that the roles of the AI in production are being patented for military command, AI could inevitably chance the entire future of human civilization. In spite of this fact, global citizens aren’t likely to feel any of the benefits of AI. Instead, the development AI will only serve to fill the pockets of the top 1%, and we may have to adjust to a reality where AI monitors everything we do.
The promises being made about our future do look bright, we’ll have the ability to search for more creative and meaningful work which will improve our societies. We’ll leave all of the repetitive stuff to the AI and live the good life. All of that could be a possibility, if it will benefit all global citizens equally. Yet, the lack of opportunity for affluence and for our incomes to be indefinitely determined by powers out of our control may be a problem for the profiteers.