Robotics & AI
This week on Facebook: It is very difficult to draw any conclusions from my incursion into the world of robotics and AI other than (perhaps) it being an inevitable step in human evolution. Inevitable in the sense that — regardless of the political motivations — there is a global scramble for economic growth and global economic hegemony. There are many scenarios that can be speculated on regarding any outcome to this scramble and naturally I would look for an analogy in the history of humankind, at the moment being drawn to the European revolutions of 1848, something I touched on in The Patriot. The inevitable outcome of any trade war in this scramble for global dominance in economic growth being military war.
Technologists, economists, philosophers, et al, are clearly divided on the issues that robotics and AI creates. The Future of Life Institute provides a quite comprehensive background to AI and gives a plethora of references in its article on the Benefits & Risks Of Artificial Intelligence, which may lead to an alternative conclusion. However, the dilemma that robotics and AI create is essentially a political one and the short term thinking of those holding office in a democratic society office leads me to very pessimistic conclusions.
Tuesday 7/3/2017 Merging Our Brains With Machines Won’t Stop The Rise Of The Robots: Most machine learning systems suffer from an infamous problem whereby a tiny change in the appearance of a person or object can cause the system to catastrophically misclassify what it thinks it is looking at.
Wednesday 8/3/2017 Artificial intelligence runs wild while humans dither: It may not be too much of an exaggeration to say we are reaching a critical juncture. Is truth, in some senses, being electronically determined? Are we, as the European academics fear, becoming the “digital slaves” of our one-time “digital minions”? The scale, speed and efficiency of some of these algorithmic interactions are reaching a level of complexity beyond human comprehension.
Thursday 9/3/2017 How Technology Is Destroying Jobs: That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. Rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States.
Friday 10/3/2017 How Smart Can AI Get? Some experts think human-level or even super-human AI could be developed in a matter of a couple decades, while some don’t think anyone will ever accomplish this feat. The Capability Caution Principle argues that, until we have concrete evidence to confirm what an AI can someday achieve, it’s safer to assume that there are no upper limits – that is, for now, anything is possible and we need to plan accordingly.
What happens if robots take the jobs? (pdf): Current approaches linked to full-time jobs will be insufficient if employment patterns change and society needs fewer workers to perform basic tasks. We already have seen the impact of automation on blue-collar jobs and are starting to see its impact spread to white-collar jobs. As computers become more sophisticated, creative, and versatile, more jobs will be affected by technology and more positions made obsolete.
The Future Of Employment (pdf): Expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes, with the primary objective of analysing the number of jobs at risk and the relationship between an occupation’s probability of computerisation, wages and educational attainment. About 47 percent of total US employment is at risk with wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation.
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