Monday, February 27, 2017

Super-intelligent Artificial Intelligence (AI) - impact on work

Despite TV series like Human and movies – 2001 Space Odyssey, Matrix, Terminator etc. the actual performance of AI is still emergent. However,  we perhaps have an innate fear of non-human intelligence. Especially if we are unable to totally control all aspects of the intelligence.

Here are two videos, providing a more nuanced view on how AI may or may not impact on our lives, in particular, the work that humans do.

First up, a TED talk video from Grady Booch in a 10 minute presentation, delivered late last year. The title, Don't fear super intelligence, is apt. The presentation provides  a good overview of the possibilities and challenges. Optimistic slant similar to book by-  – teaching AI to value human characteristics – ethics, emotion and judgment.
In short, humans are still the directors (we can still unplug the computer at the moment!). 

Second video, another TED talk by David Autor on the topic, of why jobs will not be lost despite advances in technology and AI. This talk also from late last year and is 18 minutes long. Another optimistic viewpoint, creating machines to do work for us, has actually not led to human labour becoming obsolete. The %age of working adults actually increased.

Two aspects support Autor's argument. One 'the O-ring principle' – determines the type of work with do
General principle of work means all work requires a range of skills. Automating some aspect of the work means need for worker to upskill and a different aspect of work becoming the focus. Example bank tellers who now do not have to do the mundane tasks but have become ‘sales’ people and problem solvers. Improvement of tools increases importance of human expertise and creativity.

Secondly the 'never get enough principle' – certain industries did not exist before, but now take up large sectors. Argues less work equates to more leisure. Leisure generates new sectors.
Automation creates wealth by creating more time for us think, create and re-create.
The challenge is not that we will run of work, the challenge is skill mis-match. High skill jobs and low skills jobs increase, but the middle skill jobs are the ones most treathened. Examples used of agreicultural revolution in the US whereby young people were encouraged to complete high skill, increasing skills for manufacturing. Key still through education.

Technology actually magnifies human’s strengths – creativity, innovation and problem solving. We never have enough, so new industries will create new types of work. 40% of Americans in agriculture, now 2% but producing sufficient food for now. 95% decrease in workforce but increase in productivity. 

Again, the importance of education, continual need for workers to up-skill, is reiterated. For education to keep up, the learning of occupational specific skills require distillation into salient 're-configurable' skills as technology shifts job types and needs.

No comments: