There will always be two sides to a coin. Two sides to an argument. Whether it be a football club, moon travel or the colour of a dress, there will always be people who disagree with each other on who or what they support. And that is no different with the support and opinions received for the latest hype in the digital era – artificial intelligence (AI).
Recent opinions seen on some websites are definitely putting the ethical and societal impacts of AI in the spotlight, challenging its existence as a helper to mankind. From how AI could boost cybercrime, to the grim realities of job hunting in the AI era, makes the prospect of a brighter and better future lifestyle that’s promised through AI seem like just a hoax.
The points brought up by naysayers are, nonetheless, valid and need proper scrutiny. Better to look at the outside opinion and address the elephant in the room before it becomes a raging elephant.
And the issue brought up most often is how AI is being trained to take the jobs of humans. While on the surface that does seem to be true, for example in cases of automated or driverless cars and lorries, or even in law firms where AI was recently tested to be 200% faster at looking through documents than a practicing lawyer, the concept of a changing workforce that addresses the different needs of the times has been happening since the beginning of civilisation.
The hunter had to learn different skills to be relevant. The horseshoe maker had to adjust to the change in technology. The industrial revolution changed much of what people were doing during the agricultural age, especially in how the skilled workforce became a necessity.
One would presume that the same is going to occur in this age of AI, where much of the mundane work that requires repetitive activity and little decision making will be handled by a machine, opening up new and better job scopes for people to move into.
Yes, the old jobs will no longer be available, so that would mean new ways of educating the job seekers or those holding those jobs. A natural progression that shouldn’t be feared in fact, but embraced as AI has a lot to offer.
The point here is that AI could cost jobs and AI-driven business models could destroy traditional business models. These two fears can prevent people and companies from embracing AI. However, history has shown that if you don't embrace change – someone else will, and the effects that you are scared of will hit you anyway, but via competitors rather than under your control. Pioneers like Steve Jobs, and in more recent times, Elon Musk, embrace changes that destroy the norms of yesteryear on how you do business.
These pioneers find ways to increase business and jobs.
The possibilities that AI has to offer are growing with every passing day. From the trivial activities of courting the opposite gender, to being at the forefront of curative diseases, its reach is far and wide across every industry.