Artificial intelligence (AI) can be both a blessing and a curse. This technology has made it possible to do things that have never been done before, like driving cars, translating languages, and recognizing faces in photos. But at the same time, AI is capable of killing many human jobs as it replaces them with automated processes that work faster and more efficiently than humans ever could. The question isn’t whether or not we will use AI (we are already using it), but rather how we can prepare ourselves so that AI doesn’t destroy our ability to survive in an increasingly automated world.
So, what is AI?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term used to describe machines that can make decisions based on the information they receive. While most technology today is narrow AI, meaning it performs one task really well (i.e., self-driving cars), some systems are beginning to reach general AI or machines that can perform many tasks and learn from experience without being programmed for each specific task. When looking at computer science as a whole, it’s clear that we’re still a long way from creating true general AI. However, many industries have already begun implementing narrow artificial intelligence in real-world products.
Who are we building AI for?
There are more than a few people who think that building AI for anything other than human-level intelligence is going to be a catastrophic mistake. Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have already made public statements of concern, with Hawking calling it our biggest existential threat and Musk warning that humans might become irrelevant if AI continues to improve. If your goal is to make an AI capable of reasoning and learning like humans, then there’s every chance your machine could wake up one day only to find out it can’t relate to us anymore—which would result in us finding out we can’t relate to it either. Like a child suddenly encountering its parents for the first time, there’s no reason not to expect some level of confusion.
What will robots look like in the future?
When we think of robots, we often think of gigantic machines like C-3PO from Star Wars or R2-D2 from Star Trek. But really, these are just big walking computers. When robotics advances to that level, their appearance will depend on what they’re designed to do. What robots can look like in the future is only limited by our imagination and our ability to cram in more processing power and sensors. We’ve already seen changes in how robots operate, with significant jumps occurring over a short period of time thanks to new technology and connectivity.
Will robots take over the world?
It’s hard to imagine a time when robots have more power than humans. But, with significant advances in artificial intelligence, that future might not be so far off. Research by Dr. Nick Bostrom of Oxford University has predicted that as many as 50% of jobs could disappear from robots and computer automation over the next 100 years. That figure includes service industry positions like retail clerks and janitors, but also white-collar ones like medical technicians and legal aides. It’s a scary prediction, but there are ways to survive it.
We already depend on AI every day
Siri and Alexa provide the best examples of AI’s ability to help us automate tasks. And we’re already on our way to a future where we will live in a symbiotic relationship with AI technology. Our partner, Anyword is the first AI copywriting tool that can use predictive analytics to create content for you. Anyword automatically crunches data and uses its AI to generate high-quality content like blogs, landing pages, newsletters, social media posts, and even entire books! In short order, we’ll have hardware like augmented reality glasses that can read your mind by using an implanted chip.
Every new technology comes with its own problems
Robots are taking away our jobs, and smartphones are killing our attention spans. For those reasons, some believe that artificial intelligence should be tightly regulated. However, there is another side to the story; AI has saved countless lives and will continue to do so. In fact, it’s good that scientists are currently studying how to create friendly AI robots or software with human-like traits that will assist us in ways we never thought possible. While many people fear what unregulated artificial intelligence could bring about, there’s no denying that AI has many benefits for society today and in the years to come.
What can you do to prepare?
We may not know exactly what AI will look like, but we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Machines will be able to do more and more of our tasks for us, from driving cars to writing articles (this article you are reading was written with the help of an AI copywriting tool, anyword) — and they won’t necessarily have much regard for human concerns like creativity or empathy. What does that mean for people? It means learning how to do things AI can’t do as well, such as creativity and empathy (the researchers call these skills “complex social intelligence”), and collaborating with machines where it makes sense to do so.
Our final word of advice? Don’t panic when AI takes over. This technology is capable of so many great things that you should be excited about how it could change the world for the better. With that being said, don’t just sit around passively and wait for AI to do all the work for you. Learn how AI systems work and use them to help you think more efficiently. In short, don’t let your computer get eaten by a bigger, better, faster computer.