Sanyam Bhutani

Machine Learning Freelancer

Will ‘AI’ Take over our Jobs?

January 26th 2018
You can find me on Twitter @bhutanisanyam1, connect with me on Linkedin here

An AI and Self Driving Car Enthusiast’s vision of the ‘Future

Source

With the ‘Deep Learning’, ‘Machine Learning’, ‘Data Science’ or ‘AI Revolution’ hype, there a few common repetitive concerns in our society, that keep appearing in different forms:

  • Will AI take over our jobs?
  • Will Robots steal my income streams?
  • Will there be a massive ‘job-depression’?
  • I’m a driver, will a Self Driving Car replace me?
  • (For an extreme) Will Robots rule over us in the Future?

I will try to state my viewpoint as an AI enthusiast (Sorry humans 😜).

Will AI take over our jobs?

First, that would require a General and robust Intelligence, which is atleast a few decades away.

We’re truly close to building a Perfect- Smart Washing Machine
- Fei Fei Li

AI seems to excel in very specific tasks as of 2018, the systems are extremely brittle and can be, under very limited cases be applied to different domains. The tasks by themselves, are extremely specific to given conditions.

In the real world, with constraints out of the equations, I’m skeptical if a General Intelligence variable will hold (anytime soon).

How Far Are We from a Fully Autonomous Driving World?

Will there be a mass ‘job-depression’?

This seems to be the biggest concern, since AI can do our tasks better, what would we do?

I firmly disagree with this general opinion, Firstly because such a system is not near for the following reasons:

  • The systems are extremely brittle as of now.
  • The tasks are not fully automated: Hyperparameter tuning is to be done manually.
  • Lack of Understanding: ‘Deep’ Neural Networks are mostly blackboxes (even after we visualise the under the hood processes).
  • Edge cases: DL is not good at dealing with edge cases. (Specially when it comes to Autonomous driving).

Secondly, Throughout the history of Humanity, whenever we have always witnessed technology that does our jobs in an efficient manner replacing humans in the field, it has enabled us to worry about greater tasks.

Did Automated Call Routing, replace the workers at Telecommunication Exchange?

YES, They ‘took’ their jobs (or replaced them). But I’m sure the automation was necessary. I can’t imagine waiting for a few days for an operator to post my Instagram story. With Internet and global connectivity, the task needed to be instant. Hence, Humans were replaced.

Technology acceptance curve. Source: MIT 6.S094 Lecture Slides

The acceptance curve for every ‘innovation’. Notice: There was almost no technology before 1900 and the Curves get steeper and closer as years progress.

Everytime we’ve introduced a new ‘Tech’, it had a tendency to replace certain jobs.

Cars replaced Horse Wagons, and the wagon drivers.

Television replaced the Street side theatres.

Medium is replacing Newspapers (If I dare say so).

Did all of these things bring job depressions? 
I don’t think so. 
(The examples are not comprehensive, but I hope you get the idea).

Does a Self Driving Car Replace Drivers?

Yes, it does. But what about your freedom of commute?

We spend a significant amount of our life in commute. How about no more traffic jams? Or freedom of doing whatever you want when you are on the road?

What about not owning a car and just being able to summon one when you need to commute?

What about Solving the issues of car parking, by making it figure that out autonomously?

I think the Pros always outweigh the Cons for every Technology that affects the world on a massive scale. After all, there’s a reason why we call it ‘innovating’.

I am a firm believer of Sebastian Thrun’s vision: 
AI well let us do better tasks, it will allow humans to work at innovative tasks. Ones at which, we are naturally good at.
AI will replace all of our ‘boring’ tasks with automation and allow us to work on better, more important tasks.

Sebastian, in his Ted Talk argues that our jobs, for most of our lifetimes include working on variations of the same task. The same ‘boring’ job.

The thing about Humans is, we’re extremely competitive. If given the right push, we tend to push the limits of our biological Intelligence.

AI, in general is meant to serve us as a Technology. Any Technology, serves a single purpose: To help us do our tasks better.

Once we have a competitive mind for innovation, I can’t imagine the wonders that’d happen. If given the push-with AI replacing our jobs. We’d push back and find better problems to solve.

Here’s a proof:

Source: AlphaGo Movie

DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol pretty embarrassingly by a 4–1 win.

AlphaGo however, pushed Lee-Sedol to innovate. For the 1 game he had won, he played a move that couldn’t be anticipated by AlphaGo itself, experts who reviewed the game believed the same.

The machine God, pushed the Human God to play better!

After the defeat, Lee Sedol went on to win all the matches against (human) players.

Didn’t AlphaGo push him to improve?

Once you’re at the top, you keep working but tend to lose a competitive sense. Lee Sedol faced a defeating competition from AlphaGo, it pushed him to become a better player.

Our innovations have always helped us improve at innovating.

That is the Truth about humanity.

So, do you think AI will take away our jobs of innovating or just our ‘boring jobs’?

Here’s how I’m helping to Bring the World Together with AI.

What do you think?

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You can find me on Twitter @bhutanisanyam1, connect with me on Linkedin here

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