Saturday, August 20, 2016

Humans Need Not Apply

Future jobs would be mostly humanless and this future is not too far away. As a matter of fact, we are already seeing the first generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing humans in many different job markets.

AI Technology will make most human jobs obsolete in just a couple of years. Main reason is the exponential pace at which computer & software technology has advanced in the past few years and the ever increasingly connected world of limit less availability to data. 

This combination of super fast compute power and availability of passive and real-time data is the lifeblood of AI Technology. A computer or machine is said to have an AI capability if it can intelligently think for itself and achieve goals without requiring human input. The other attribute of AI is the ability to learn from its experiences and surroundings. Therefore, an AI capable machine is constantly learning from its environment and interactions with humans.  

The modern computer driven human replacement has already started. Restaurants, grocery stores, airline check-in counters are all transitioning towards self-service checkout stations run by computer kiosks rather than humans. These devices are mainly running software with preset logic.

We are now starting to move into the first wave of AI robotics which is capable of making human like decisions and learning from experiences. Self-driving cars is one example of such AI where the car's software can not only make decisions based on pre-programmed logic or choices, but it is continuously learning from new driving experiences on how to avoid or maneuver around new obstacles.

Self-driving cars will be soon replacing human drivers in most driving situations. Uber just announced it is launching its first self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh this month. Initially, the human driver will be in the car. However, few years down the road, as the AI improves, there will be no need for human drivers in these cars. 

The other industry that is starting to see human replacement by AI is the advising and consulting businesses. Brokerages and investment firms are already deploying AI based Robo Investment Advisors instead of human adivisors. E*Trade and few other brokerage firms have started to offer robo-advisors for their customers; thus taking market share from traditional human brokers and investment adivsors. 

The AI use of robo-advisors is not just limited to investment banks and brokerages. Even professions like law and medicine are starting to introduce IA based service providers. The world's first artificially intelligent lawyer was just hired at a law firm: world's first robo-lawyerAnd here is an android doctor Anna: Robo-doc. Though, quite primitive, these introductory AI services are an onset to a much bigger wave of AI enabled workforce.


World's first robot-staffed hotel opened in Japan last year. Image Source: www.homecrux.com

Even schools and colleges could soon be replacing human advisors and teachers with AI based robots. 

So what will humans do for work? 

According to the experts, there will still be jobs for humans; however, they will be far and few, and availability of work would be rather limited to very specialized areas. Having a job would not be a centerpiece of human life. 

Here is a very interesting read on this topic: world without work





2 comments:

  1. I've been reading some SF books with that kind of concept. Robots do most of the work and human can choose to work or not. If you don't want to work, you get basic services. If you work, you can live better. Not too bad, but I don't know if it'd work in the real world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it used to be a good read in SF books, but now it's getting way beyond the concept stage. High tech companies are gearing towards accelerating AI adoption within their own workforce as well as in the products and services they offer. Even if someone wants to work, they may not be able to find a job unless they have a skill that AI can't replace. There is a hypothesis that AI is different from any past labor replacement technologies since AI can learn and adopt and therefore can do essentially anything that humans can do.

    If I was a young engineering student now, I would be studying AI and Robotics. We would probably still need humans to build and repair these AI machines, or maybe someday they can build themselves too? It's scary to think that far out, but it can happen and humans can be completely replaced by intelligent machines in the next couple of decades.

    ReplyDelete