Oct, 2020 - By Nilanjana Chakraborty
Imagine you wake up one day and see that the world has been taken over by robots. Is this a dream come true or a nightmare?
A world where human beings are replaced by Robots. We have already watched this happening in fictional movies. Is this the reality of the world?
Well what is Artificial Intelligence? It is as simple as talking to Siri, using Google maps or using face recognition on our mobile phones. It is nothing but the capability of a machine to replicate behaviors of humans and make human tasks simpler and faster. Every day we read or hear about some new technological advancement. We have seen computers outperforming humans, will AI do the same? Scientists and engineers fear that there may come a time when AI will outsmart humans. Today the AI technology is being used to perform tasks that range from trivial to monumental. Whether it is enhancing mobile photography with AI cameras or financial asset management, AI has wide scale applications in various fields of human life.
However as the applications of AI increase, more and more people are concerned about the importance of human skills and experiences in different tasks.
Personalities such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and many others see AI as the end of the human race and the new future. In 1951, A.I. pioneer Alan Turing predicted that machines would “outstrip our feeble powers” and “take control.”
Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, believes that the health care industry really needs AI for saving the lives of millions of people. “We're now at 300 hospitals and over 125,000 patients around the world where the AI has helped the doctor identify the diagnosis and the appropriate treatment," Rometty stated "So these are things that you didn't realize before how either infrequently they were done or not done with precision."
AI has the ability to diagnose the threat of breast cancer five years in advance.
So is AI taking over our jobs or saving lives?
A lot of us don’t see it, but robots have already taken up a lot of jobs. Especially in manufacturing industries, we will soon see self-driving trucks and vehicles taking over the jobs of millions of drivers. People losing their jobs to AI, was a point put forth during a presidential campaign. Thus, we can see that it is a real concern for the common man. Just like we saw carbon papers being replaced by photocopiers, jobs will be replaced by robots in a similar fashion. Well AI is a boon and a threat to humanity at the same time .
The rise in Automation and Machine learning has not only reshaped the nature of various but also taken away many jobs. From self-checkouts at stores to screening of documents online, human beings today are being replaced by robots. Uber is working on introducing self-driving cars and replacing human drivers. On one hand where Artificial Intelligence and Robotics is making tasks simpler and bringing about accuracy, it is taking up jobs of millions of people. 40% of companies are dependent upon AI in some form or the other. With high levels of illiteracy and majority of workforce being unskilled, India rises high on technological unemployment. In many countries such as Germany, the evolution of technology has been utilized effectively to create jobs. In the U.S, since 1993, the number of robots have been increasing and accounted to 1 robot for every thousand workers. The automotive industry has been completely taken over by robots for better efficiency and productivity. According to a survey by Future Workforce Impact model 2016, technological unemployment resulted in reduction of the workforce up-to 0.48 million
In the famous Netflix series 'Black Mirror' predicting the future of the world with technological advancements, shows how AI intends to satisfy the desires of humans such as feeling of belongingness. The famous Oscar movie 'Her' shows how an individual depends upon AI for feeling loved and ends up getting addicted to the AI. And well, this isn’t just fictional. Walmart has already requested for a patent for this and Harvard scientists are developing Robo Bees since 2009.
According to a study, autonomous-weapons and drone swarms will target the common man using face recognition. In fact, U.S navy ships shoots its radar guided Gatling Gun automatically within a distance of about 2.5 miles.
Does this mean Robots are smarter than humans?
Certainly not. AI performs very specific tasks and fails to show the ability to be versatile like humans. Human beings are born with a sense of understanding, something that AI will not be able to achieve. Undoubtedly, AI is intelligent but it cannot learn like humans. A child learns by just observing how a certain problem is solved whereas AI requires data for every problem and finds it difficult to solve a problem it hasn’t been trained upon or is of a different nature. In 2012, we saw the invention of Google’s supercomputer produced with an aim to substitute humans. It was able to identify a cat with 75% accuracy after looking at 10 million thumbnails of YouTube videos. Even though this is very impressive, a 4 year old can learn this much quicker. When a cheap laptop beats the smartest mathematicians at some tasks but even a supercomputer with 16,000 CPUs can’t beat a child at others, you can tell that humans and computers are not just more or less powerful than each other — they’re categorically different.
Even with enormous data, AI will never be able to achieve human intelligence and replace us. In no possible way, can we create an AI that would work exactly like a human being. Human beings have something known as emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and human experience which AI cannot have. At the end of the day, AI has been created by humans. In spite of all the developments and growth in AI, we are yet in the first stage of AI and there is a long way to go for AI to actually take over humans completely. Jobs such as writing, graphic designing, and teaching can be supported by AI, but they cannot function without the human touch. For example, when we look at teaching, correction of papers can be handled by AI but teaching will require humans. It will take over clerical work of humans and let them focus on more important functions of their job. AI can study a millions of book on psychology but only a human mind can understand emotions and know what to say and when to say. While texting, it can predict the next word you are going to type, but not the complete text as it cannot understand human emotions completely. Human beings are social animals and only they can build trust, show empathy, listen carefully, show compassion, and respond in a manner according to the situation.
Artificial Intelligence is a tool that will assist human beings and make life simpler. It will help humans being to focus on important functions of a job. We need to learn how to use AI in the right way. Around 10 years ago, we thought social media would replace a lot of jobs. When we look it today, social media has created a boom in the industry and created millions of opportunities and new careers such as web designer, data scientist, social media marketing etc. When computers were created, we thought we would become its slaves but we definitely haven’t . Be it the invention of electricity or mechanical power, technology has always made our lives better, created new jobs and improved the economy of the world. In fact the more the technologies, the more the jobs and more the learning. Technological advancement has been taking place for more than 250 years and the rate of unemployment has remained the same. Thus, we can see how technology helps countries grow and become global leaders. One needs to focus on developing themselves with advancing technologies. As per a research, 2030 will not only see an era of automation and robotics but also abundant job opportunities. Thus, AI will not necessarily bring about unemployment, it is about how one uses this to its advantage. Machine Learning and Robotics will create a lot of new job opportunities. For example, AI being used widely for language translation but we can also see an increase in the demand for jobs of human translators. Why? This is because it encourages companies to do business all over the world as language is no more a barrier and the language translation has not only become simpler but also cheaper. Thus, more the business, more the work and more the jobs created. AI may do the simple translations, but human beings are needed for the nuanced kind.
AI can process large data, interpret complex challenges, but the decisions can only be taken by humans. It will support humans and not replace humans.
However, AI needs to be constantly monitored and regulated because it does have a lot of negative effects.