Don’t worry about a robot making you redundant. Humans and machines have different skills, which means they’ll be collaborating for years to come.
The accelerating development of technology has prompted varying predictions about the future. On the one hand are dystopians like ‘Black Mirror’ writer Charlie Brooker, who present the image of a world in which humans are entirely dependent on machines. Whilst this does provide fascinating entertainment, such imagination appears to have created a fear of new technological developments.
Of course, with technology advancing at such a rate, life will inevitably change – especially the workplace. A recent analysis from PwC suggests that almost a third of jobs will be at risk of automation by the mid-2030s. For traditional ‘working class’ roles, the risk rises to 44 per cent.
Whilst interesting, such research fuels the fire of tech-phobic anxiety. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle and is likely more complex than either scenario. What can we expect for the future relationship of man and machine?
The first point to focus on is a simple one: humanity has inherent skills and traits that machines will, for a long time at least, find it difficult or impossible to replicate. Thus, we are not at risk of being replaced entirely anytime soon.
On an abstract level, there is a body of thought which argues that humans have a certain creative reasoning that AI cannot copy. According to William J. Littlefield II, a tech specialist and philosopher, humans are able to reason ‘abductively’, whereas machines are currently only able to do so deductively and inductively. In layman’s terms, this means we are able to reason outside of the parameters given when looking at unprecedented challenges, whereas machines are only able to work within a pre-determined structure.
Pedro Domingos, a professor at the University of Washington, argues that as tech develops, new jobs will be created – many of which we can’t even imagine yet. As such, whilst it may seem like the job market will shift in favour of machines, a multitude of new jobs will be created for humans. There is much historical precedent for this dynamic: as computers developed, for example, new roles such as web developers and programmers were created, jobs that would have been unimaginable to a person from the 1920s.
The new relationship between man and machine will be characterised by several aspects, one of the most interesting being what can be termed ‘amplification’.
Despite sounding jargonistic, it’s a simple idea: that humanity’s inherent abilities will be improved by collaborating with machines. An excellent example comes from Google’s DeepMind AI, which was able to defeat a master of the strategy board game Go by using what another expert described as “beautiful” and inhuman moves. This speaks to how machines are able to educate humans and teach us new ways of thinking, thereby amplifying our problem-solving abilities.
Collaboration ensures that an organisation is able to maximise the benefits of human and mechanic skillsets. For example, AI can take over the repetitive and tedious drudgery faced by many employees every day, thereby making the working day more enjoyable and productive.
Prospex, an AI-driven service from Fountech Ventures, does exactly that for sales and marketing teams. In sales, a huge amount of time is wasted trawling through databases to find potential leads. Prospex can generate these leads rapidly, allowing salespeople to focus on what they’re best at: selling. In turn, this can add value to firms who are able to get much more out of their teams.
There are other tangible, workplace examples of this phenomenon, such as x.ai’s AI-powered personal assistants. These take over from human workers those burdensome and time-consuming administrative tasks, such as organising a meeting or coffee. In turn, the humans are able to focus on value-adding tasks, such as strategy and creating.
Ultimately, the future of man and machine working together will likely be a happy and productive one. Surely, rather than fear the advent of technological developments, we must embrace them wholeheartedly. To turn away from such technology would be to turn away from progress and this would be counterproductive.
Nikolas Kairinos is CEO and founder of Fountech.ai, a company specialising in the development and delivery of artificial intelligence solutions for businesses and organisations.
DISCLAIMER: All articles are solely the responsibility of the Authors and do not reflect the views of the Publisher of TOOLSBAG.XYZ