The machine revolution has begun, artificial intelligence is here. The latest advancements in machine learning look to transform whole industries, redefining the workforce and in many instances replacing human interactions.
Seemingly human chatbots, designed to make people happier in China elicit responses of love and friendship. Mark Zuckerberg wants one in his home, a personal AI butler likened to Marvel’s Jarvis; a being that would not only control home lighting and ambiance, it would also answer the door and recognize Mark’s friends.
Oxford researchers say within decades 47 percent of jobs could be replaced by machine operations. Tasks with identifiable and measureable criteria, objectives that can be set, for automated completion using feedback techniques will be replaced. And even those you might assume to be innately human are not safe.
Vinod Khosla, of Khosla Ventures has said that machine learning will impact every area imaginable. Those roles you might assume to be fundamentally human – doctors, taxi drivers, and even therapists – could soon all be replaced. One one hand, this opens a door for greater possibilities for the innovators of new advanced technologies. But the growth of AI also means the extinction of many jobs. Together this will drive a transformation of the job market, and the tech industry will be the first hit.
Technology has driven great change throughout history, it has shaped the working world, and replaced jobs and even whole industries. The latest advancements in machine learning are set to transform the workplace.
Four entrepreneurs share their observations and predictions for the machine revolution; exploring the advancements in tech with a crossover into finance, education, e-commerce and art.
The replacement of personal financial services, by their robotic counterparts means the costs are cut and consumers can access services never available before. A new wave of robo-advisors are democratizing the private investment world, and are using analytics to make smart predictions and better decisions. The effects of this mean reduced demand for financial personal services, and a rise of the data scientist.
“Programmatic investing outperforms humans on every level. It is already common for hedge funds to employ data scientists, but it is hard to hire the best ones. As a result, the role of a freelance data scientist has emerged, one who works for no single company but simply makes sense of datasets for the highest bidder.”
- Zoe Turner, Numerai
In some industries these tools will support, not replace human input. Big data – such as student recorded attendance, behavior and test results – has the power to map educational progress, bring insights, and change learning outcomes. Understanding students’ challenges and emotions means that educators can tailor their approach to boost engagement levels and overall academic performance.
“Machine learning in education means that tools we can provide to help children learn can be smarter. Responding to a child’s progress in a personalized way tailored to the areas they need attention, this will be incredibly valuable. A one-size-fits-all approach to education is never going to work. In this educational sector we are seeing an increase in the number of tools available to help teachers and child-care professionals, and also more home tools for parents. This technology is not designed to replace human interaction, instead it should compliment it, helping parents and teachers access detailed analytics that explain a child’s learning and development.”
- Javed Hussain, Alif Baa
Online retail is one of the largest industries of this age and e-commerce growth is outpacing in-store growth. This industry has historically been dominated by the Goliaths that are Amazon and eBay. However, new platforms that focus on niche markets and personalization of the whole experience are transforming e-commerce. New technologies mean that businesses can understand the user journey, set pricing, inventory forecasting and cost reduction – but it also means they can be more creative too.
“While machine learning has improved the efficiency of on-boarding clients; providing quick support, and answering simple questions, it hasn’t yet replaced the role of an Interior Designer. At Decorilla we combine the two; we are using 3D renderings to explore the design. People can walk around their new home, and they can see the future – they get a true sense of what the room will look like. We are already doing this with VR, the next stage is the incorporation of AI to help users make decisions.”
- Christine Martin, Decorilla
This is one industry you might assume the robots cannot touch. However, machine learning and image analysis techniques are already being used today in the authentication of paintings. Could an algorithm even compare to the human eye, perhaps. American art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto said that art is the embodiment of meaning, could machine intelligence decipher this level of human thought and emotion?
“Technology means we can create a platform to connect artists from across the globe in an activity that has traditionally been a solitary pursuit. Art is human, discerning it requires a human eye and a human soul. At its most basic it is a form of expression, that could never be replaced. However, as people express themselves online tools that can read this emotion and connect users of similar interests or spark debate could be fascinating.
While it is true that algorithms may eventually become sophisticated enough to discern art, we doubt they will ever be able to respond with any real judgement, or emotion. The day a robot can truly understand the difference between a Jackson Pollock and random splatters of paint, is the day we can all start worrying about robots taking over.”
- Yehudit Mam, DADA.nyc
The things that can be achieved through technology today we could never have imagined even just a few decades back. A search engine with a level of intelligence that is almost indistinguishable from human thought, would only years ago have been dismissed as Sci-Fi fantasy. As our minds excite, a full-blown man versus machine apocalyptic warfare might seem sensationalist, but truth be told we really don’t know what will happen.
“I don’t understand why some people are not concerned,” Bill Gates revealed.
This idea raises questions of social conscience and change. If the jobs that can be automated and carried out by machines are replaced and we are shifted towards career that are more human in character, does this mean the wealth distribution driven as a result of this will also harbor this same humanness? This could be one worth pondering, as we enter the age of artificial intelligence.