Machines are coming 機械の台頭





This is because a strong workforce is needed to make AI work.



  • concern : [noun] 心配、懸念。通常多くの人たちによって共有される心配事
  • focus : [noun] を焦点に合わせる。何かに興味または活動を集中する行為
  • workforce : [noun] 労働力。国または地域で働くことのできる人数
  • application : [noun] 応用、適用。何かが持つ特定の使用方法
  • practical : [adj] 実際的な、実用的な。実情や状況に関連している






A few centuries ago, when the first industrial revolution arrived, people were terrified with the prospect of losing their bread and butter to the mighty new machines that could perform their jobs better and faster. However, as the reality unfolded, the machine age created new jobs for humans. The same question lies ahead of us now as a new set of machines are being unleashed into the world armed with Artificial Intelligence.

AI uses a mechanism similar to the processes of the human brain. They imbibe a network structure that resembles the neurons in the brain. These networks calculate algorithms from a multitude of data feeds and enable us to save time. Facebook, Google, Tesla, Microsoft, and many other tech giants have deployed AI in their work systems to enable smooth and fast operations. So much so, some analysts fear that there is a risk of humans becoming redundant as more tasks are taken over by intelligent machines.

Recently, many well-known thinkers and industrialists have forwarded their views on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Eminent scientist Stephen Hawking, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Tesla founder Elon Musk have mixed views about the future of AI. They sometimes wonder if the problem could go out of hand and create a scene like that in sci-fi movies where we see machines fighting human beings and endangering humanity itself. This fear is allayed by AI researcher Andrew Ng, who says that it’s too early to predict an outcome like that. He further stresses that AI is just a method of computation of data at a faster rate. Worrying about machines is as ludicrous as worrying about overpopulation on Mars. Though machines can perform tasks faster, they cannot (at least, not yet!) think like human beings and outperform them in terms of wits, he added.

The constant fear that has gripped many people is that with time, AI could eat into the jobs of humans. But the reality is that AI is just a tool and, like any other tool, it is heavily dependent on human input to function. AI has created more new jobs than any other source, basically because AI runs on software and people are needed to monitor those. For instance, take the example of ATMs; the creation of ATM reduced the number of money tellers, but it introduced the concept of customer service.

In fact, AI might actually help us identify the flaws in our workplace and retrain employees without a hassle. It is estimated that in the next decade or two, around 47% of businesses in the U.S. will change to digital mediums, while other studies estimate that in reality only 10% might actually convert.

John Stuart Mill wrote in the 1840s that “there cannot be a more legitimate object of the legislator’s care” than looking after those whose livelihoods are disrupted by technology. That was true in the era of the steam engine, and it remains true in the era of AI.

Stephen Hawking, on the other hand, has a different view on AI. He said that governments worldwide are busy designing arms, ammunitions, and weapons of mass destruction using AI, but they are not using AI enough to develop welfare schemes for the good of humanity, say, healthcare advancements. Warfare has become more important than healthcare. The problems that have evolved in recent days are generic too. From pollution and population, the focus has shifted now to AI. The intelligence of machines created by humans is being questioned.

Satya Nadella, on the other hand, is quite optimistic about the whole process. He released a ten-point rule recently that elucidates the policies to be followed for the AI of the future. Nadella cited from the book Machines of Loving Grace, wherein John Markoff writes, “The best way to answer the hard questions about control in a world full of smart machines is by understanding the values of those who are actually building these systems.”

But AI can be very annoying and disturbing at times. Take for example Tay, the chatbot of Microsoft, which was taken offline because it picked up abuses and racist comments from Twitter. Such instances can be worrisome and painful.
Machines are being developed at an alarming rate and they are getting more intelligent day-by-day. This has led many to prophesize a day when machines can evolve on their own without human intervention. Creating machines that think like humans is good as long as the thought processes of the machine is in sync with those of humans.

Though AI has been making jobs easier for many people and in many sectors, speculations and fears will continue to build regarding the vulnerability of humans, much like what we had once thought about the steam engine. But as Nadella says, we need to be optimistic about the future and realize that we still have the control. By giving a humanitarian approach to machine building, we can ameliorate many of our problems.




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