2/25/2015

Artificial Intelligence Not Required to Displace Workers

Advanced technology will displace a segment of the population.  But I don't think Artificial Intelligence will be the culprit.  I believe it will be automation of manual processes.  By leveraging large volumes of data and machinery in the form of robotics.  Conscious, self aware life forms are not required.

At one time, a human pumped your gas, washed your windshield and cashed out your transaction.  Now we insert a credit card and pump the gas ourselves.

Telephone switch operators connected you to another person, accepted "collect" calls and looked up phone numbers.  Now we have smart phone and internet access.  And IVR phone systems route your calls accordingly to the correct department.

We used to stand in line at the bank, to write a check to obtain cash.  Now we have drive through ATM machines which accept deposits and spew out cash.

Three simple examples of displaced human jobs with automation.  Didn't require an artificial intelligent being.

This is only going to amplify in proportion and magnitude across all domains.

I believe the next phase will be augmented humans as in Cyborgs.  If you watch the trends, for example, sports athletes take enhancement drugs to increase their performance.  And why not, they get paid for being superstars.

So why not have enhancements to improve your physical well being.  Like the 6 million dollar man back in the 1970s.  Medically this is already happening.  Bringing semi sight to blind people, hearing to deaf people and artificial limbs.

Once this becomes mainstream, it's just a matter of time before everyone jumps on the bandwagon to enhance their physical bodies to form a more advanced segment of society.  Which will spawn a rush to augment more and more as those who don't partake will kind of be at a disadvantage.

And how about mind altering drugs.  To increase cognitive abilities, decrease depression and increase concentration.  That would allow humans to outperform the others.

And in a competitive society such as ours, anyone and everyone is looking for an advantage.  That's how the game works.

So what if artificial intelligence is obtained and we create new life forms.  Will they overtake the humans and rid us of the planet.  Possibly.  But maybe not.

I think a greater fear is who controls the technology and what it's used for.  If AI beings are used to patrol and police mankind, or if they're used as killing machines in an endless war, that could be bad.  And as we know from history, those are the exact organization who fund research and development of new technologies for just that purpose.

Many Private companies are working towards this goal to bring it into the economy, like self driving cars, to improve the quality of life.  So it's a race between Public and Private sectors.  And even if the Private sector wins, you can be sure the Public sector will have their hands in the pie.

And with the rise of accessible data, many organizations are using it to leverage their maximum profits by selling more goods and services.  But you can already see the centralized organization of mountains of real time data, archieved indefinitely, being used for surveillance in an effort to control and maintain order, a "weapon" if you will.

So to summarize, technology advances are following "Moore's Law" of exponentially doubling every 18 months.  Which gives rise to advanced technologies.  Which can be used for good or bad, depending on the owners.  I believe augmented human body parts in one form or another will spawn a market for increased performance, in a hybrid human / robot form, like a Cyborg.  Artificial Intelligence may be achieved, but is not required to begin the automation of average jobs, which will displace many workers.  And if AI were to come to fruition, they may replace humans and become the Alpha species, or perhaps they won't.  Time will tell.

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