Machines “Learning” How To Steal Our Jobs

One of the biggest concerns many people have are whether their jobs will be taken over by the new and improved era of programs and robots. For the past few decades, plenty of jobs have become automated and this is what people who need to put food on the table are most afraid of. Some jobs that have already been affected, which is making the switch a little more real. Those may include or will include jobs in transportation and logistics, office support staff, sales and customer support staff and many more. These specific types of jobs will be replaced by autonomous vehicles, computerized check-ins for buildings, and chatbots and machines. Each of these new technologies have the ability to change the whole concept of unemployment. The question is, in what way will society and jobs as we know it have to adjust?

There are a few other career paths that may also be in jeopardy that some never thought of. For example, in the TedTalk below, Anthony Goldboom talks of a challenge presented by Kaggle to build an algorithm that could successfully grade high school essays. The winning team built one that was able to match the grade that a human teacher would give. This means that physical teachers or institutions may not be needed. As a society, we are already seeing college classes and some colleges being digitized and online. A machine is and will be capable of doing more work at a faster pace than humans do. This will only get more advanced as time goes on and as the technology progresses. Machine learning has the capability to adapt and become skilled in many different industries, which suggest that many jobs will be lost but overall efficiency can increase. Another example lies in the medical field. Many systems are able to spot diseases and tumors 50% more of the time than a human can. This means that these machines have a higher chance to potentially save more lives than current doctors or surgeons. The precision and certainty of this technology reduces human error, which can only help society.

Though many jobs will be replaced or assisted with machines and Artificial Intelligence, there will be those that require programming the technology or anything related to that matter will still be needed. The question then becomes, how do you prepare the current or future unemployed and employed to successfully adapt to the new world of jobs? There are potentially two answers. One is that current technology companies can implement a training program to help people learn new sets of skills. This means that we, as workers, would be redefining what it means to work. That is what people have been doing ever since automation started decades ago. When automation seemed to be taking over, new jobs presented themselves and more opportunities. By preparing, the working class now for a new future would be beneficial because this new era of technology will redefine our lives as we know it. We all will be impacted in one way or another and it is best to be aware of the change that is coming. The key may be to not only change ourselves but also redesign the system. This brings the second answer to mass unemployment, if inevitable, to light. Another solution could possibly be a universal income in order to help those who do not work to become completely lost. If plenty of people are out of work, with no money coming in, how will they live? What if there are no more jobs to adapt to? If a universal income were implemented then every citizen would have some sort of income and rise above the poverty line without a job. This also means the man who lost his job as a taxi driver would still be able to provide his family of five. Additionally, it could provide people with the opportunity of a passion filled life without stress of a job. It would be quite a long process to redesign the entire system of income for an entire nation, however, with the rise of automation and Artificial Intelligence, the government may not have a choice. This decision may have to occur in the next few weeks, months or years, but it would be valuable to have an idea of a solution before it is too late.

A TedTalk given by Garry Kasaparov, addresses how humans should work with intelligent machines instead of shying away from and ignoring them. A machine, IBM’s Deep Blue, was able to beat Kasaparov, who was a world champion, at chess in 1997, its early stages. He claims that what could be accomplished by computers or humans alone could be even more successful if put together. Imagine how precise your next doctors appointment could be in the near future? By normalizing the training of employees to program and use this new technology efficiently, means creating a world that operates at a new level we have never seen before. The modern era of machines and Artificial Intelligence indicates that our whole system of employment and income must adapt. We must modify and accept the upcoming society of work and redefine what it means to operate side by side with intelligent machines.

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