It seems that Ray Kurzweil is among the ones who are more down to Earth and not exactly all to worried about AI, technology and automation taking away jobs and leading to a crisis of unemployment.
The same way people were wondering about the pro’s and cons of IoT refrigerators, they are now wondering what we get and what we lose with AI equipped gadgets that have traditionally had no business being equipped with intelligence. As Jeff Goldblum’s character said in Jurrasic Park: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn
The questions of IoT devices have basically answered themselves – we don’t really need an intelligent cloud-connected TV’s, fridges and toasters. They can, in fact, prove more dangerous than useful. The importance of AI, however, is huge for the global political, economical and financial elites.
Even Russian president Vladimir Putin said in an address to students: “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” and that “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Now that’s not nothing, and it doesn’t sound like pure hype. And when we look at what the giant corporations are doing, we can see how serious it is:
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are having heated gray matter throwing contests on Twitter over the pursuit of AI:
— Darren Cunningham (@dcunni) July 25, 2017
And Microsoft’s AI R&D team has grown significantly in the past year, and it’s now 8000 strong!
Naturally, considering the success automation has had and the accumulation of wealth it accelerates, many are afraid that AI will in the same way take our jobs away permanently and a humanitarian catastrophe will emerge from it as the elites start to employ AI for their own benefits. Stock trading will probably be the first field to have an AI tested at, because it provides the most profit for the invested effort (the electricity bill, basically, if we don’t count R&D costs).
But many are skeptical of the impending job-pocalypse, and Ray Kurzwel is among them.
Kurzweil doesn’t believe that technology, automation and AI are going to eliminate jobs completely, without creating more then they kill off. We will instead be doing jobs that we haven’t even invented yet, as was the case throughout history.
His reasoning is that jobs simply go away and make room for more modern, more current-tech jobs:
“We have already eliminated all jobs several times in human history. How many jobs circa 1900 exist today? If I were a prescient futurist in 1900, I would say, “Okay, 38% of you work on farms; 25% of you work in factories. That’s two-thirds of the population. I predict that by the year 2015, that will be 2% on farms and 9% in factories.” And everybody would go, “Oh, my God, we’re going to be out of work.” ”
And Kurzweil is not your run of the mill engineer, he’s also an author and director of engineering at Google itself.
So many conflicting thoughts, ambitions and fears. If only we had an AI do a simulation of the impacts of AI development, so that the hype and stone-throwing can make way for some concrete science.