AI Is Not The Threat You Think It Is
It’s no secret that Hollywood tends to demonize artificial intelligence and often portrays the technological trend as a catalyst for the end of human civilization. In Ex Machina, a critically-acclaimed movie that focuses on an artificially intelligent robot, the ending culminates with the robot leaving the human being for dead.
However, we might be villainizing artificial intelligence way more than we should be. The truth is that machine learning doesn’t really mean that machines learn the way that humans do.
There is no doubt that artificial intelligence should be respected as a tool, as it is already helping companies with everything from data trends to predictive analytics. However, AI cannot ever truly reach perfection when you consider the simple fact that human beings have created artificial intelligence. We should begin to view it as a tool to enhance productivity rather than a technology that will eventually replace human labor.
Not Disrupting – Yet
We often think about disruption and the idea that robots will replace humans when it comes to the workforce. Many individuals already point to the fact that self-driving cars exist as evidence that they will replace truck drivers, which is one of the most popular jobs in the United States. Specifically, the trucking industry in the United States alone is worth somewhere around $700 billion.
In fact, there are also many questions that rise regarding bias when it comes to artificial intelligence. Amazon uses artificial intelligence to help recommend products to consumers that are eager to purchase products and services. We might not consider this as sinister whatsoever, and appreciate the fact that we can browse through several products we might enjoy or need.
Criminal Justice Implication
However, what happens when law enforcement decides to utilize artificial intelligence when it comes to deciding where crime “hot spots” are located? We know that law enforcement has exhibited bias before. While artificial intelligence can help tremendously when it comes to identifying patterns and trends, the underlying social context isn’t something that artificial intelligence can grasp or consider. For example, if artificial intelligence was developed based on stop and frisk data – there are many that would consider the policy a racist one.
It’s true: there are plenty of organizations around the world spending massive amounts of money to figure out how AI can help them gain on competitors in terms of market share. However, while there are certainly more capable scientists than others – the truth is it might be decades before artificial intelligence becomes the massive job disruptor that we seem to already believe that it is. In addition, in the example of law enforcement, there might be sectors where artificial intelligence will have to be developed, reviewed, and regulated before any sort of practical deployment.
Is The Fear Justified?
There are many that believe that globalization and automation will lead to the death of the “truck driver”. One of those individuals is Andrew Yang, who proposes a universal basic income to help offset the economic devastation that will happen when truck drivers and factory workers are displaced.
Yang is a former tech executive himself and believes that America will soon face a job crisis where there are plenty of individuals in sectors where their skills are no longer needed thanks to technology and automation. He is running for President and has gained traction in U.S. political polls quite consistently.
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We’re Just Starting
We must recognize that this future might not be as close as we realize. In 2018, the human civilization experienced its first death of a pedestrian from a self-driving car. Self-driving technology has been touted as a way to safely transport both individuals and goods, but there is no doubt that the industry requires a significant amount of both innovation and regulation until it’s a real threat to any job market.
After all, if pedestrians are still getting killed by self-driving cars, there will be less support to adopt it in any fashion.
However, there are many people that seem to disagree. They understand that robots can help organizations be more effective, but that it still requires human supervision. In addition, there’s no reason that companies cannot simply hire both humans and robots. Of course, time will tell how exactly artificial intelligence will continue to affect the labor force and society as a whole.