Look around you. We are surrounded by a plethora of so called smart devices such as smart phones, smart watches, smart TVs, smart meters, smart cookers, and the list goes on. Tools that we never associated with intelligence, are becoming more autonomous, making decisions of their own, without humans having to instruct.
We humans have enjoyed this up rise of technology and have encouraged it so far. However, we are now facing a critical point where we fear that devices empowered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are becoming smarter than humans who invented the AI, and threatening to grab our jobs.
Humans have already lost to AI in various fields. Last month, Alpha Go, a software developed at Google Deep Mind in London, convincingly beat the human world champion in the board game of Go. Deep learning algorithms outperformed humans in image recognition tasks couple of years ago. Translating between two human languages, a task that was once reserved for bilingual experts, can now be performed at a remarkable accuracy by machine translation systems thanks to neural language models. Art, once thought to be a human-only performance, is being slowly invaded by AI as algorithms draw Goghs that would make even the originator Vincent van Gogh proud!
There is no doubt that machines are becoming intelligent and eventually surpass humans in all tasks that were once thought to be exclusive to humans. A report from the Oxford Martin School’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology predicts that 47% of all jobs in the US are likely to be replaced by AI systems in the near future. Nobel prize winning physicist Stephen Hawking fears that AI could end mankind as we know it. Ray Kurzweil predicted this singularity in machine intelligence to happen in 2045, but recently Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, revised this date to 2030.
If the pundits are correct and if it is inevitable that AI taking our jobs, as smart humans, what can we do about it? How are we going to survive in the future? Without jobs, who is going to pay us to live?