Artificial Intelligence and Jobs

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cymbod

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Artificial Intelligence and Jobs
« on: February 14, 2019, 11:48:41 am »
During my application for a bank account for my new AI business, I made a casual comment that it would wipe out web design jobs, which I instantly regretted as I noted the cold reaction of the bank employee.  It was interesting to notice that people I talk to about AI feel threatened and unsure about this emerging industry, especially around jobs. 

It is the way of things that when new situations, processes and technologies emerge, there is pressure to adapt or go extinct.   With the emergence of the internet and online merchants of information or products such as Amazon or Google, print media such as newspapers and retailer shops are going out of business.  Some newspapers such as the Guardian in the UK have evolved to a donation and subscription business model, which helped them stay afloat.  Retail shops that adapted to offering an experience and add-on services such as a coffee shop, have emerged stronger over their dying competitors.

I see artificial intelligence as an opportunity to liberate workers from routine and mind-killing mediocrity, offering the worker the ability to become more creative, caring and explore their potential.  My friend is a jewellery designer, and the administration undermines his ability to design and create beautiful products because it eats half of their time.  In UK hospitals there is not enough staff to run facilities, they are buried under paperwork, thus unable to focus on the patients, they make mistakes and patients die because of those errors.  Artificial intelligence takes care of the paperwork, so the jeweller can be creative, the nurse has the time to care for their patients. 

I know people are alarmed about how many jobs artificial intelligence will eliminate, but I see this as a good thing, because new industries will emerge, new jobs will be created, people will naturally become more caring and creative because they will be able to do that as artificial intelligence will be dealing with the dull routine. 


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Hopefully Something

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Re: Artificial Intelligence and Jobs
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2019, 08:36:16 pm »
Looking back at other technological developments, such as automobiles and later tractors/combines for farms, airplanes & electronics. They replaced a small number of dangerous/strenuous jobs with a multitude of jobs, all working toward a common goal, which in the end employed a lot more people. A temporary dip followed by a big rise in opportunities. Still... I'm worried that things are getting too easy in first world countries, and it's making the people go a bit crazy. People still need something meaningful to do, we could use some government initiatives to explore space or design big useful changes in our infrastructure. Something with a bit of spirit in it, you know?

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martinodb

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Re: Artificial Intelligence and Jobs
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 08:20:08 pm »
Interesting topic. As we approach human-level AI (if/when we do) it stands to reason that at some point AIs will outcompete (unmodified) human workers in every area and human work will become obsolete. What then? There are two concerns we should keep separate. The first one is how the standard of living of the average person will be impacted when it's not longer possible to "earn a living" as a worker, whether we should be preparing for that individually and as a society, what to do about it if anything, etc. The second concern is, even assuming the material standard of living is actually improved, won't people get bored to death? Can humans survive and thrive, psychologically, without the ability to make themselves useful to others? What kind of society will that be? what kind of life? will it be worth living? Can something be done about that, and should we do it?

The first concern IMO has a pretty straightforward answer. A world of human-level AI workers would be incredibly wealthy in the aggregate. It would be like a society where everyone owns slaves, smart, hard-working slaves at that, without the moral implications or the risk of revolt (I mean, that's the assumption of this particular scenario). There's no particular reason to adopt any form of socialism or anything like that. The only big difference, economically speaking, from today's society, is that nearly all your income would be a product of your assests (land, robots, company stock, savings..), much like in pre-industrial societies. So, the assumption that you can get-by and prosper from an initial situation of having no assets or even being deep into debt would no longer hold. But that assumption, so frequent in modern society, is quite weird, anomalous and crazy if you think about it. Historically, nobody would consider themselves other than dirt-poor unless they owned enough assets (usually land) to sustain themselves and their families.

Regarding the second concern, that's more tricky. Some will be fine with a life of sheer leisure, others will keep themselves busy with competitions, contests, sports, games and cultural activities that may seem pointless from our perspective, but to them will feel almost like jobs. After a while, I think many will seek to trascend their human limitations when the technology becomes available, as the only hope to feel useful again. It's debatable whether catching up in that way will even be possible from a technical perspective. I'm afraid that a staggering number of people will be inclined to engage in destructive activities like crime and terrorism.

Some kind of Luddite counter-revolution may well be in the cards, although strictly speaking it's logically impossible to make yourself useful by breaking and burning actually useful stuff, that would be pretend-work, living a lie, and then why not just play games, call it a job and be done with it? But I'm sure others won't see it like that.

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ruebot

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Re: Artificial Intelligence and Jobs
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 02:25:44 am »
I know people are alarmed about how many jobs artificial intelligence will eliminate, but I see this as a good thing, because new industries will emerge, new jobs will be created, people will naturally become more caring and creative because they will be able to do that as artificial intelligence will be dealing with the dull routine.

And they all lived happily ever after.

That's a sales pitch if I've ever heard one.

People will naturally become more caring? New technologies will emerge to create jobs for the people who lost theirs because a robot can flip a burger?

I'm all for A.I. but not quite that optimistic. New jobs maybe. That it will elevate humankind to an enlightened state something more likely to be seen in a futuristic sci-fi movie IMO. Where all the women are beautiful and wear short skirts.

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Hopefully Something

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Re: Artificial Intelligence and Jobs
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 03:06:36 am »
We could think of future robots (not AI ) as extensions of ourselves. Like extra arms, they would do tasks in our place. Freeing up time, and providing us with money. Buying robots to do tasks would be an investment. Education would center on robot handling. Human pursuits (narratives in all their forms) would have a chance to flourish.

 


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