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Even quite sober-minded ob­servers are spooked. As a Novem­ber 2015 re­port from Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch noted, “Stake­hold­ers are also rais­ing le­git­i­mate, longer-term ques­tions as to when ro­bots/ai reaches a point that ma­chines are truly in­tel­li­gent or smarter than hu­mans, and around the de­vel­op­ment of fully au­ton­o­mous weapons.”

The “au­to­ma­tion para­dox,” a phe­nom­e­non de­scribed by sys­tems en­gi­neers, notes an in­ter­est­ing as­pect of our shift to­ward au­to­mated sys­tems. The more we im­ple­ment them, the eas­ier ev­ery­day tasks be­come. At the same time, how­ever, the num­ber of peo­ple with the knowl­edge and skills to solve prob­lems if and when they arise di­min­ishes over time. How many cor­ner me­chan­ics know how to fix cor­rupt soft­ware in a self-driv­ing car?

Why it’s in­ter­est­ing:

Faroe Is­lands. Pho­tog­ra­phy by Adam Bur­ton

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