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24 November, 2017 01:18:09 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 24 November, 2017 11:08:00 AM

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Will artificial intelligence leave us without a job?

Machines find profoundly complex tasks simple, yet falter over apparently basic assignments that any human can do
Mahbubur Rahman
Will artificial intelligence leave us without a job?

Drive me home’ and the car starts rolling, taking you home safely and smoothly in a precisely predicted time. You get down, the car is parked in the garage, and the engine is turned off.

This is a common everyday scenario for anyone returning home after work. However, there is one little difference, a difference that makes you a superman in the present context—the car is driverless! Artificial intelligence (AI) has been tested in the vehicle industry for use in autonomous vehicles. In fact, the concept of driverless vehicles may well sound like a pipe dream to many of us, but it is set to become a reality. This interesting yet far-fetched idea of autonomous cars raises another question in the mind of human resources professionals: What happens to the driver? Millions of people will lose their livelihoods. Truth be told, AI and similar new technologies look set to destroy millions of jobs around the world in the near future.

In the 1980s, a similar threat was posed by the introduction of personal computers. There was a lot of speculation about what might happen if computers took over; however, reality has shown that the computer-literate worker is highly valued and computers have only contributed to improving the way we work today. There is no denying that some roles such as that of the stenographer do not exist today, but computers have created a lot of jobs too, e.g. the vast multitude of IT professionals comprising data entry operators, system analysts, programmers, motion graphic artists and more.

Historically, new technologies never rendered humans jobless. Rather, they created new opportunities while also easing human labour. Therefore, conceptually AI should not lead to a glut of unemployable workers. For one thing, it will not only destroy jobs but also create some new by introducing new activities that require new workers. The process is well known. Furthermore, AI and other new technologies can free more people to do things that machines can never do. People are not optional when the task is to educate, entertain, take care of, and love each other.

AI researchers have projected a future in which there would be fewer full-time, customary employments requiring a range of abilities; fewer monotonous manual assignments; and more occupations working for and ‘considering’ machines. Peter Norvig, the worldwide head of research at Google, was asked how he would advise his children about the future of work with AI. ‘I tell them… wherever they will be working in 20 years probably doesn't exist now,’ he said. ‘No sense training for it today.’

One thing we know is that the jobs that will be created will require different skills from those that will be destroyed. We will also be required to educate ourselves constantly to keep ahead of the machines. Economist Jeremy Thorpe says, ‘[People] will likely change jobs or careers much more than previously’. In the words of the University of New South Wales professor of AI Toby Walsh, ‘We are social people, so the jobs that require lots of emotional intelligence—being a nurse, marketing jobs, being a psychologist, any job that involves interacting with people—those will be the safe jobs. We want to interact with people, not robots.’

Human knowledge is fundamentally different from machine knowledge. A human and a machine may solve the same problem, but they would differ in their approach to the problem. If we were to draw a line between humans and machines, it would be the distinction between creating and using knowledge. Machines find profoundly complex tasks simple, yet falter over apparently basic assignments that any human can do. While the two may utilize similar learning, how they utilize it is different. To understand how human and machine would blend; we have to concentrate on how the two connect, as opposed to on their individual abilities.

Finally, it can be expected that as the human brain is the creator of the AI, future researchers, at whatever point they would confront risk from artificial insights, would positively control and cut off the power of those machines. This is because that only human being has compassion, something the machines of the future will never have as their inward power.

Therefore, the distinction between human and machine intelligence is that the human community is constantly constructing new knowledge and tearing down the old. When a mould-breaking phenomenon is identified, new features and relationships are isolated and discussed, old ones reviewed, and concepts shuffled. This also results in unlearning and the evolution of our knowledge.

Technology will make humans more humane. In present world, the purpose of the existence of human being has changed. They are born to ensure five basic needs but unfortunately their entire life-long-work cannot ensure food, shelter, education, treatment or clothing at the old age. However, with the introduction of AI, production will increase, commodities will be widely available, and cost of goods will decrease. History has shown that automation, far from destroying jobs, generally creates new occupations.

AI will facilitate the creation of arts, music, and even new technologies. It may be hoped that it will free humanity from the bond of slavery.

The writer is Chief Human Resources Officer, Beximco Media

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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