Monday, October 30, 2017

Is NZ ready for the impact of AI?

Here is an interesting article, from this morning's paper. The article provides the argument that NZ, compared to other countries, is well placed to meet the challenges posed to the future of work, through the advent of Artificial Intelligence.

One indicator, is the recent change of government here in NZ. The Labour party, in coalition / partnership with two other parties, NZ First and the Greens, formed the new government last week. The National party, which had governed for nine years, is in opposition. A turning point in the decision by NZers to support a change, was the growing disaffection with the outcomes of 'neo-liberalism'. There has been a growing inequality across NZ which many NZers, with an inherent pre-disposition to supporting the ideals of an egalitarian society, have found to be difficult to deal with.

The article proposes, like many others, the deployment of a UBI -universal basic income - to ameliorate the coming stress on the job market, through the introduction of AI into many types of work and jobs. The Labour party, at least, has been doing some work into understanding the impact of technology and AI on work - see their final report launched last year and summarised on this blog.

The more I read, the more I am in support of the notion that work will not perhaps disappear, but work will change. As argued in this series of articles, summarised recently, mundane and routine work activities may be replaced by intelligent agents, but the less routine and trouble shooting type work activities, will remain. So, large parts of some types of work will change.

In vocational education, the objective is still to prepare people for work. So perhaps, there will not be major impact on many of the occupations requiring long preparation to prepare novices for undertaking specialised work. What is required, is for academic, critical thinking and digital literacies  to be attained so that work with AI or automated 'intelligent agents' provides the enhanced productivity which is frequently sought.

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