Intelligent robots threaten jobs
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) will soon lead to robots that are capable of nearly everything humans do, threatening tens of millions of jobs in the coming 30 years, experts warned on Saturday.
an do, what will humans do?" he asked at a panel discussion on artificial intelligence at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Vardi said there will always be some need for human work in the future, but robot replacements could drastically change the landscape, with no profession safe, and men and women equally affected. "Can the global economy adapt to greater than 50 per cent unemployment?" he asked.
Automation and robotisation have already revolutionised the industrial sector over the last 40 years, raising productivity but cutting down on employment. Job creation in manufacturing reached its peak in the United States in 1980 and has been on the decline ever since, accompanied by stagnating wages in the middle class, said Vardi.
Today, there are more than 200,000 industrial robots in the country and their number continues to rise. Today, research is focused on the reasoning abilities of machines, and progress in this realm over the past 20 years has been spectacular, said Vardi. "There is every reason to believe the progress in the next 25 years will be equally dramatic," he said. By his calculation, 10 per cent of jobs related to driving in the United States could disappear due to the rise of driverless cars in the coming 25 years.
According to Bart Selman, professor of computer science at Cornell University, "in the next two or three years, semiautonomous or autonomous systems will march into our society." He listed self-driving cars and trucks, autonomous drones for surveillance and fully automatic trading systems, along with house robots and other kinds of "intelligence assistance" which make decisions on behalf of humans.
"We will be in sort of symbiosis with those machines and we will start to trust them and work with them," he predicted. "This is the concern because we don't know the rate of growth of machine intelligence, how clever those machines will become." Selman said investment in artificial intelligence in the United States was by far the highest ever in 2015, since the birth of the industry some 50 years ago.
Business giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla are at the head of the pack. The Pentagon has requested $ 19 billion for developing intelligent weapons systems. What is concerning about these new technologies is their ability to analyse data and execute complex tasks. This raises concerns about whether humans might one day lose control of the artificial intelligence they once built, said Selman.