We all have seen movies or at least have heard some horror stories about the rise of the machines. Many people are agitated that machinery can take their jobs. I can’t say this concept of fear is new. Let’s get back to the 18th century when mainly manual labor was used in agriculture, whereas after the agricultural revolution a number of US workers employed in the field drastically dropped from around 80% to somewhere 2%. There is another example too, an assembly line. This invention replaced thousands, if not millions of workers over the first couple of years.
However, there is no need to worry too much as there are certain skills and qualities no machine can replace in the foreseeable future or at least in the course of our lives. Have you ever thought what the main issue with AI and robots is? It’s the way they take decisions. Any AI (or at least what we now know as a concept of its prototype) uses certain rules that are previously suggested as a knowledge base. While in many cases this can be successfully used, there are certain areas where reasons, purpose, and cause matter more than rules themselves. The list of skills that are our ace up the sleeve in the upcoming face-off between human and artificial Intelligence.
Pros and Cons of Human and Artificial Intelligence
- Empathy and sympathy. No machine, at least for now, can understand the concept of pain (whether emotional or physical), suffering, and withering. There is a long list of professions that require both qualities, such as psychology and psychiatry, geriatric and infants care, team leading of any type and teaching, etc. Can you imagine a robot machine applying wisdom and providing guidance? Or calming down a lively being (either human or animal) before a surgical procedure? Neither can I. And while we can benefit from using technology in some basic interactions or procedures, they won’t be able to substitute humans.
- Creative endeavors. Albeit some technical things can be performed by a machine, it will never master some arts or learn to create things. Let’s take writing and editing as an example: while AI can perform a spell check and basic proofreading, it is less likely to understand the context and has almost zero chances of recognizing sarcasm. The quite similar rule applies to finding a solution to a problem. Having a creative mind, people can also find unexpected solutions, while robots will follow the book (well yes, AI can beat people up in some cases, let’s remember an experiment with finding the quickest rout of London subways). It’s also extremely important to understand that people have an appreciation for unique things rather than replica’s, so any craft can feel safe and not be threatened by technology.
- Judgment. Here I’d like to stop for a moment and think how machines work. They have a certain set of facts, rules, and pre-interpreted data to base their decisions on. Do you want to hear one of the scariest things? Try to imagine a world where all judges, advocates, and prosecutors are replaced with robots. No machine can understand and interpret the concepts of ethics, cause, and effects, and no machine can be taught that not everything is black and white. However, I can think of a great implementation of AI in our juridical system. Having a precedent law, AI can successfully perform search and file up the most similar cases for a judge to base their decision on.
- Planning and agility. While many AI prototypes show a good skill of planning, there are not able to adapt their decisions to some subjective factors. Okay, this may be a funny one if you try to imagine a robotic wedding planner. Yes, it may find some great solutions based on the criteria you set, however, I highly doubt robot will be able to understand a simple “I don’t like it” from a bride. Both artificial intelligence and robots lack the agility and understanding of the situation humans have. And even though AI can be thousands of times faster in making the decision, it lacks six senses humans have.
- Physical skills. Every job that requires some kind of physical activities, being either a professional athlete or a cook, will never be able to replace humans with robots. Let’s imagine a robot preparing a meal. While it can measure amounts and weights better than humans, it can hardly feel the smell or evaluate the quality of products or understand the need to adapt the recipe to these products. Machines are less likely to become famous poets, creative architects or genius musicians.
- Technology management. Have you ever thought what the problem with computers and AI is? It cannot set up itself and it still needs human supervision. The future of artificial intelligence may bring more sophisticated systems, they will still need humans to set them up and teach them. And also covert the decisions made by AI. Have you seen Person of Interest or Intelligence? I like how they interpret the concept of robots artificial intelligence being used for the need of humankind. Nevertheless, they both state the same fact: we need people to supervise technology.
- Human interactions. Let’s face it, talking to a robot can be creepy and scary. HR-managers, recruiters, and PR-managers can feel safe as the likelihood of them being replaced with robots is extremely low. However, these jobs can also benefit from the excessive use of technology.
What do we end up with?
Having another look at everything listed above, I have understood another important thing. We have to understand that the development of technology is inevitable. However, we can prepare ourselves and focus on skills that are either irreplaceable or hard to replace. What is more, the sooner we learn to use technology to our benefit, the easier it will be for us to conquer the job market. We don’t have to fight technology, no! It’s the opposite. As soon as we learn to accept technological progress and use it in order to complement our work, we can achieve a better result, aiming and reaching higher.
In the battle of human vs robots, I’d say I like our chances as long as we learn to adapt.