How to survive (and probably win) the AI Revolution
I recently took a test if I could tell a human-written poem from an artificial intelligence (AI)-generated one. So far, I managed to pick all the ones by the human poets. But in the future, as AIs progress in learning from human poetry that it is fed, would I be able to tell the difference as reliably as I did? Distinguishing (and writing) human poetry from machine-churned ones may not be as crucial to your individual future or sense of worth as it is to writers and poets but have you – yes, you – thought about what your place is or will be in the age of AI’s?
Even if you are in the farther ends of the economic lifetime as a newborn or a retiree, this issue greatly affects you. If you are scheduled to clock-out of the economy as a retiree, the workings of the economy would not retire from you. As a newborn now, research says that the jobs for you do not yet exist because the traditional jobs now are being taken over by AIs.
Thinkers have labeled this upheaval in the way we live as another Industrial Revolution. I read a recent series of articles in the Nature on the future of work and had gained a good panoramic view of how AI is changing the current human order. It is a revolution indeed as the Industrial revolution was, in the sense that it turned everything before it on its head. “Let there be light” was the energized mantra of the Industrial Revolution. There was electricity! Machines brought us places! Machines sped up production! Things went faster, much faster than before and therefore, produced a lot more. We even built up enough since then to change our climate.
But this AI revolution is not just about machines performing more tasks faster. One of the authors of the Nature pieces, Ian Goldin said that history may not repeat itself but it rhymes. This time, however, I think, it is not a simple rhyme but a new breed of order. This is because of one powerful fact: AIs could learn!
AIs could learn patterns – a way of learning that we used to think only human brains can do. It can do it, faster and better. That changes the game radically and sustainably! AIs can continuously learn from patterns we feed it. Now, it can beat us in chess, diagnose some major illnesses like specific cancers and cardiovascular conditions faster and with much higher success rates, recruit more customers, enrollees in some enterprises. These tasks used to be the exclusive domain of experts who belong to a band of intellectual and marketing elites. AIs are not just performing tasks, they are fulfilling roles that we used to consider, defined what it is to be human.
In terms of being displaced from the work you thought you had already nailed, the feature articles essentially said that it depends on the job you have. Essentially, if it is a job that AIs could do much better, like driving, then not only would you probably be replaced, but it also makes a lot more sense and better for all of us that it be taken over by AIs. This is because data they presented revealed that 90% of vehicular incidents that occur are attributable to human error. Following this thought where a human face would just be a distraction and not helpful to the performance of tasks, there are a lot of jobs that could really be completely taken over by AIs – such as roles involving payment transactions, cleaning and maintenance services, and technical support.
But behind those payment transactions, cleaning and maintenance services and technical support, we need human inputs – lots of them continuously so that AIs will continue to be responsive. Humans are still the ones who will recognize and code these patterns. As this article puts it, without humans, AIs would be stupid. That is why it is crucial that lifelong learning includes coding – so that no matter what your current job or expertise is, you could translate what you learn to a language that will help the AIs serve us better.
This brings us to how AI affects how we learn. The consequences are obvious. We cannot learn the way we used to. In fact, even traditional schools had to give in and shake hands with this revolution because it is a human revolution (reality check: humans made AIs) and not an invasion of alien beings. Real learning acknowledges what has opened up and figuring out the best ways to deal with it – technically and ethically, collectively and privately. This means that education with a fixed degree/profession for a target may not be the most useful prep ground for what is required when you finish school. With the “gig” economy requiring you to know many things and even speak more than your native language, that will require an education that frays the edges of the sewn curricula we have now. It is probably not a “job” that your education should prepare you for, but to evolve into some kind of digital renaissance human – able to transform his or her talents/capabilities to digital currencies that s/he can dispense to whoever needs it across the digital planet.
There are so many other areas of life that will be affected by this revolution and compressing it in one column is like collapsing Jupiter to a basketball. In many ways, our fundamental mode of looking at ourselves and our lives will change. We have to be able to learn to have conversations about this with one another so that we can cope and adapt. Conversations are probably one area where humans cannot be replaced or at least be outperformed by AIs. But first we have to learn how to really converse. Posting, tweeting, IGs, are channels for conversations. They are not conversations in themselves. In brain scans, “conversations” happen when the “brain patterns” of people involved in the discussion mirror each other.
Instead of being shattered because what you thought was reserved for the natural intelligence (NI) of humans alone could now be performed (even better) by AIs, what could be an alternative? Maybe the better, more evolved human response is to ask then, what is next for the expanded, border-crossing revolutionary NI that you are? – Rappler.com