How to live in a world with no more jobs?
- Mar 12, 2020
Robots endowed with artificial intelligence are already seen as co-workers of humans and partially conscious beings. Soon, however, they will be able to reproduce a situation worthy of the 2001 film: A Space Odyssey: they will learn without previous human interaction and will replace our positions in the companies, acquiring a conscience of their own.
Futurist Martin Ford has warned for years of the inevitable arrival of "uniqueness" - when computers will be smarter than us. Writer of the books Robots and the Future of Employment (2019) and Architects of Intelligence, Ford warns that anyone who performs routine, predictable tasks from the shop floor to the office will be susceptible to robotic automation.
"We will need to adapt to AI and generate some form of income for people who are no longer employed," said EXAME. "If we do not, there will be social and economic impacts. Unemployment does not only generate violence, but a decrease in consumption. Without demand, the economy collapses. "
Check out the main excerpts from the interview with Martin Ford:
EXAME - How important is artificial intelligence?
Martin Ford - Artificial intelligence has very broad applications, comparable to the transformations we experience with electricity. Just as everything currently depends on electric currents, the AI will impact the entire economic system, from industries to trades and jobs.
How close are we to this massive adoption?
Companies in some industries are already adopting artificial intelligence and feeling its impacts. We already have glimpses of how the future will be, with the development of autonomous cars and new medicines; stock purchase and sale algorithms; and analysis of medical tests for the detection of diseases such as cancer. Artificial intelligence can do certain things far better than humans.
Most transformations will be seen from the next five, ten years. We collect an increasing number of data, which becomes the training material for algorithms. They become more and more intelligent with the growth of information production and the processing power of computers. Therefore, artificial intelligence will become much more powerful over the years and we will see more technological breakthroughs.
Can the battle for better artificial intelligence include not only tech giants but also startups?
There are many startups in Silicon Valley, supported by venture capital investors such as SoftBank, who specialize in artificial intelligence and robotics. There is a lot of development in technology giants like Facebook and Google, but they do not dominate the industry.
These businesses have a lot of useful data for their verticals, but there are many parts of the economy that have information not yet covered: hospitals, insurance and airlines, and travel agencies, for example. These industries will have the opportunity to extract the value of your data differently, with the help of specific applications, perhaps created by startups.
Similarly, can emerging countries compete with leading countries in the development of artificial intelligence?
For now, development seems to be concentrated in China and the United States, home to the leading artificial intelligence companies. But the same thing happened with electricity: even if technologies emerge in these countries, they will soon reach others. Your inventor does not matter. The best way to compete with the leaders will be by creating specialized talent, which countries can do.
Automation has evolved into machine learning, which has now deepened through the approach to human behavior [deep learning]. Is the next step an artificial intelligence that replaces humans?
Top experts in the field agree that artificial intelligence at the human level will happen, but disagree on how and when this development will occur. It may be in ten or two hundred years, but the fact is that it will take a long time.
When AI on a human level happens, the question will be how to control a smarter entity than we do and continue to generate benefits for society; how to avoid a scenario that we see in works of science fiction and films like The Terminator of the Future. There are heavyweights working on it, such as OpenAI, created by Elon Musk [owner of SpaceX and Tesla].
How will business and society deal with a future in which the human workforce will become obsolete?
Artificial intelligence has two sides. It can increase productivity, make products more accessible and generate technological breakthroughs. This brings gains to the world economy and our quality of life, as in the case of developing better medicines. But this growth can be unevenly distributed, with more to the richer and more technologically savvy, and leave many behind.
This is one of the main concerns that accompanies the development of artificial intelligence. Anyone who performs routine, predictable tasks from the shop floor to the offices will be susceptible to robotic automation. We will need to adapt to AI and generate some form of income for people who are no longer in employment.
It is a debate that has gained momentum in recent years, with proposals such as universal basic income. Failure to do so will have a social and economic impact. Unemployment does not only generate violence, but a decrease in consumption. Without demand, the economy collapses.
The state of artificial intelligence
Smart robots are already among us. Worldwide, more than 20,000 companies already use the Watson artificial intelligence platform, created by the artificial intelligence giant IBM. The company has more patents registered in the industry, with more than seven thousand documents.
In a brazilian bank, Bradesco's virtual assistant uses Watson to open accounts and make payments and transfers of more than nine million customers. Fleury's network of laboratories uses Watson as an information tool to aid medical decision-making. Finally, Volkswagen has launched a cognitive manual application, which responds to users 10,000 possible questions about the Jetta, Tiguan Allspace and Virtus cars. "Companies understand more about the intentions of their customers. On the other hand, they experience a more humanized service than the old recordings, "says Fabricio Lira, data leader and IA at IBM Brazil.
Using an artificial intelligence solution in the next few years should be as natural to businesses and consumers as building and installing an application. For Accenture consulting, the company's adaptation to AI is comparable to the adoption of rails or electricity. Two-thirds of the 6 300 executives interviewed in 25 countries expect to invest in AI next year. Revenues from these companies are expected to increase by up to 30% over the next four years.
Sales of artificial intelligence software are expected to grow from $ 14.7 billion this year to $ 118.6 billion in 2025, says emerging technologies consultancy Tractica. "We will begin to see a transition from concept to application within the enterprise technology infrastructure, with a focus on scalability," said Aditya Kaul, research director at Tractica. If you are an employee and pay attention, a robot can already be your companion in the use of the computer - and the future reserves even more changes.