Artificial Intelligence and Jobs

I want to talk about the fear that modern technology and artifical intelligence will soon take away many jobs from our people.

In today’s world our technology is advancing so much and at such a quick rate that it is hard for us to see what our future holds for us. Technology is getting more advanced everyday and is expanding at a very fast pace. Artificial intelligence has helped improve our ways of life in so many different ways, such as how we produce and do business, how we travel, and helped evolve the ways we socialize, shop and live our lives. I could go on all day about all of the different ways that artificial intelligence, or AI has changed the way we live for the best. Instead, I want to discuss the future of AI and talk about what we should expect and how it is going to affect the future of jobs.

Why this is important?

Many people worry that soon the technology of AI is going to advance to the point where AI could do their jobs for them and that they will no longer be needed. It has been estimated that a third of Americans are going to have to find new jobs by 2030, according to a report released by the McKinsey Global Institute. We have alrady seen this happen before in the past like software programs that scan documents or solve algorithms that solve tasks equally or better than a human can. Because of this, some people are scared that soon most lower level jobs will be done by robots or other forms of AI and don’t want to let this happen. Another belief is that if we continue to advance AI at this rate that machine intelligence will soon surpass human intelligence and that AI will over power humans. As picturing this really happening seems far fetched, we have seen technology advance so much that it almost seems like anything is possible in this field and that AI could potentially be dangerous.

Is Artificial Intelligence helping or harming us?

After researching this I would argue that these technological advancements are creating much more jobs than jobs that are being taken away through a process called creative destruction. An explanation of creative destruction that helped give me a better understanding is “Machine learning does not just give us new machines to replace old machines, pushing human workers from one industry to another. Rather, it gives us new machines to replace us, machines that can follow us to virtually any new industry we flee to.”(Williams). What Ford is saying is that the jobs that are being done by AI will allow those workers to focus on more important aspects and find better jobs that will help improve society as a whole. We have already seen how much technology can help improve businesses and corporations. One of the best examples of this is how ATM machines have changed banks. Instead of having workers count and dispense money, the machine does that for them and they can now work directly with customers to help solve other issues and introduce new products. When employees have more time to improve the company instead of doing repetitive work that can be replaced by technology, they will have time to do important tasks that will really help the company.

How this might change our future and how we should prepare for these changes.

Another idea that tech investor Albert Wenger has come up with is called the Basic Income Guarantee concept. Wenger gives an explanation of this concept when hes explains that “a robot-driven economy may someday produce an unlimited bounty of cool stuff while simultaneously releasing us from the drudgery of old-fashioned labor, leaving our government-funded children to enjoy bountiful lives of leisure”. (1) And while this really fascinating and could be an entertaining way of life, is this really how we want to live our lives? To me, this lifestyle seems boring and I hope that we do not reach this any time soon, and I also don’t think that we will ever reach this point.

AI experts have come together at Stanford University and combined their research to create an AI Index that keeps track of how far AI has advanced by looking into technological and research advancements. This research group is hoping to reach “The goal of the project is to collect, curate and continually update data to better inform scientists, businesspeople, policymakers and the public.” (Lohr). With this information we can estimate that in the next dozen years 16 to 15 million people will have to find new jobs. Steve Lohr suggests that what we need to do is not let AI take control over us and have a plan for this since we know that it is coming.

Bibliography:

Lohr, Steve. “A.I. Will Transform the Economy. But How Much, and How Soon?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/technology/ai-will-transform-the-economy-but-how-much-and-how-soon.html.

Williams, Alex. “Will Robots Take Our Children’s Jobs?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Dec. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/style/robots-jobs-children.html.

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