As per Nick Bostrom latest TED Talk: Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as “smart” as a human being. A philosopher and technologist, Bostrom asks us to think hard about the world we’re building right now, driven by thinking machines. Will our smart machines help to preserve humanity and our values — or will they have values of their own?
Over the past few years in both Future Studies and Labour Studies circles, there has been much rhetoric going around about digitisation or technological automation causing unemployment and rendering human workers redundant. It is neither a secret nor a cause for surprise, that as we increase our technological knowledge and prowess, we will collectively as a human society automate processes rendering obsolete the need for human labour.
In fact, this is not the first time that I am visiting this subject. For an idea of discussions on the subject of human labour in the future on the horizon, you perhaps may wish to visit the following articles I have written over the past two years:
As far as job requirements or situations changing across sectors due to digitisation is concerned, changes have always occurred in work processes or in relevance of products throughout human history, wherein humanity has continued on through adaptation, by switching roles as, when and where necessary.
Digitisation, automation or robotics, while automating human job functions out of existence, also lower the bar to creativity, innovation and new enterprise by granting access in forms such as reducing cost of entry. What digitisation also does, is creates new needs and therefore new opportunities to create revenue streams by serving those needs. It is a circular process.
It is also impractical to believe that all jobs performed by humans will be taken over. I will have very serious concerns about the job of a lawyer being completely automated. I do not believe we can have machines do what Stephen Hawking does. I do not believe the jobs of Politicians should be automated. Try replacing a Marine Biologist with a robot for example. Even if you do, what purpose would one expect to see remain in the role, if we absolve ourselves of needing to learn, explore and understand whatever it is that is entailed in the work of a Marine Biologist?
What we can definitely be certain about, is that if not all, at least almost all Blue Collar jobs, meaning those that are non-intellectual, which I have mentioned in my past articles, will be automated out of existence, with a fair number of White Collar jobs automated away as well, with the help of SMART and efficient software or programming on top of the progress in the hardware spectrum. Even as jobs people work in today are automated out of existence, through evolution or emergence of new technologies, products, concepts or services, we collectively will create new types of jobs, roles and functions, but predominantly those that are increasingly intellectual in nature rather than laborious.
The solution is not to resist technological revolution to automate present tasks. The solution is, to prepare for humanity’s next tasks. There will be work to do and we’ll all collectively need to do that work. And for that, collectively, we will have to be competent. To be precise, we will have to be intellectually competent collectively. In short, work for us will not disappear. It will simply change and this is something I have discussed previously in the following articles:
The problem faced today however, when we look at the impending unprecedented level of transformation on the horizon, is the lack of social and economic mobility due to faults in our collective mindset towards the system of education, the role of education and the use of education.
What needs to be done, to see humanity or society through this stage or phase of change or rather, evolution in the human story, is to supplant entirely what our view of education is, how it is governed, how it is regulated, how it is managed and how it is delivered. What needs to be done to ensure social mobility, justice and equality, through this phase of change and onwards is as follows:
1. Education should be guaranteed as free for all persons, at every level from kindergarten to Doctorate level, at any and every university, to ensure no human being is disadvantaged in any way by social or economic circumstance. Education should be free, with regards not just to fees, but also any and all material costs. The fact that education is treated like a revenue generating business in much of the present day world, posses major problems for the future, including the threat of destructive social divides.
2. Education should be borderless, where any individual from anywhere in the world may study anywhere, freely, at free cost, to ensure he or she gets the education he or she needs or best suits his or her learning needs, so that the individual may be empowered to the optimum potential. With advancement in technologies enabling as well as enhancing telepresence, learning across borders would be more practical, without need for relocation or visa processes.
3. Education should not be standard but rather, needs based, customised for individuals, to cater to the needs and interests of each student through the various stages of life from the earliest stage. Progressively, the strengths of each student should be identified, allowing opportunities to the student to develop on those strengths. This on the principle that no one is incompetent, nor is anyone less competent than another, but all of us have different traits, aptitudes, paces of learning, strengths, intelligences, needs and competencies. In other words, every child born, save for mental incapacity, should have the opportunity guaranteed at birth, to earn a PhD, contingent on independent choice alone.
A level playing field provided through education as such, guarantees the disappearance of all social divides, eventually. It also readies humanity for its universally impending labour and economic needs. I first aired this proposition through the following article on the India Future Society’s website; The Future as a Case for Global Transformation of Education
And yes, I do mean, that anyone born with a working, functioning mind, should be guaranteed an opportunity at birth to earn a PhD as we know it, should he or she wish to persist in the formal education cycle to that extent, without a concern for cost or economic expense, vested societal interests or measure of competency against set standards that fragment or filter without consideration at present, recognising that all persons differ in competency.
For example, a student who is very good at language but poor in mathematics may never make it past secondary education in many countries, whereas if measured differently, and given the opportunity fitting his or her learning needs and strengths, that student could go on to be a great linguist or a language Professor.
Therefore in a conclusion that cannot be short, what is the answer to the question, what work will we do after mass-automation & advance robotics reach realisation? The answer is elaborate but simple.
With the current state of technology known to humanity, we work within or as parts of systems predominantly. Human society itself is a huge pyramid, where most sit at the bottom, while very few sit at the top. The further down one is in the levels of the pyramid, the greater is his or her likeness to a cogwheel inside a complex machine, with lesser independent control.
With the future state of technology that humanity is now anticipating, most of us will work increasing outside and on systems rather than inside them or as parts of them. Humans in general will have greater autonomy and control when it comes to “work”. It will be less hands, legs, blood and sweat, but more intellectual prowess, that will be employed for contribution. The role difference in other words will be that predominantly, human workers will be managing systems rather than being managed within systems. Human society will be a rather short or flat looking pyramid and that too inverted, with the vast majority at the top and very few at the bottom. It will have to be that way.
Who is WATSON ? Watson is intelligent computer build by IBM which used IBM’s DeepQA software and the Apache UIMA (Unstructured Information Management Architecture) framework. In simple word
Watson works and thinks a lot like we do. As a cognitive computing system, Watson is a natural extension of what humans can do at their best.
Do you think that such machine could replace Human ? It’s exciting and scary simultaneously but interesting none the less. Have a look at this Video and decide …..
Since I wrote couple of articles on Brain Computer Interface and Visioning 2050 the world has seen the emergence of MindRDR, which allows users to take pictures and upload them on the web through HMDs such as Google Glass, all with just a thought. The future, is here.
MindRDR’s innovative app product is a mere beginning. It is still reliant on physical hardware that is visible. This is simply because the root enabler of Brain Computer Interface technology, Brainwave Computing, is still in it’s early stages of commercial development.
We have yet to see the technology advance to a level where a remote and tiny computing device with an ultra-powerful processor is able to read the brainwaves of it’s owner or user, to pick up instruction and carry out it’s functions; absolutely any computing function that the owner or user instructs it to perform, even from a distance.
Apart from just reading instructions as thought by the user, we will see gradually the commercialisation of technology where Personal Computing Devices (PCD) read and pick up memory, including that in vivid visual form, from the owner or user, whether for storage or for processing. For example, I go out onto the street, take a walk looking around and as I am doing so, an innocent looking device small enough to fit into my palm, is recording all that I see and hear, lying inside my pocket. I do not even need to touch it and nobody around me knows that I am recording whatever I am seeing or hearing. I am doing it with my thought, remotely relaying what my brain is processing, to my PCD. When I get back home, I can have the device replay the recording of what I saw and heard through a projection or on a screen display. As I watch the playback of what I was seeing and recording onto my PCD, with my thought, I can instruct the PCD to freeze frames or images, storing them as JPEG images. I can also alter and edit the video as I perceive fit with my mind.
With Brain Controlled hardware and software functions, I do not necessarily need technical computing skills such as editing or formatting. I think it, and it happens. In a world of Invisible Telekinetics, where PCDs identify owner or user thoughts, read all of them, in any form and process them at a thought, you have unprecedented challenges.
First and foremost, security agencies will have a difficult time dealing with surveillance, reconnaissance or espionage by criminal or malicious elements out there. Protecting against piracy at concerts, theatre shows and cinemas will be another challenge. Yet, too most people, even though at least the question of national security or societal order should matter to the utmost, these issues will seem distant. There are other issues though, arising from Invisible Telekinetic Functions, that few will dismiss from thought.
Recording memory, with Brainwaves of what the user sees being transmitted to an electronic device is one thing. What is than done with that recorded memory, thanks to other Brain Controlled computing or technological functions, is another thing altogether. There is a reason why most of us do not want strangers to take our pictures or films us. The reason is, that we do not know what they might do with the images of us that they capture.
Personal privacy is going to be a huge problem in a world where anybody you meet anywhere, is capable of secretly recording you with sheer mental whim to do so, relaying your image directly from their mind to an electronic device in a pocket, in a bag or even further away remotely. When there is no HMD, camera, lens or any hardware device of the sort that is visible, can you really be sure, that you are not being recorded? Trust and confidence will take on a whole new meaning. How will you ever know, that a conversation meant to be kept private, will be kept private and not used against your interests?
Of particular concern will be what one can do with images of you. Parallel developments in Thought-Instructed editing software will enable abusers to alter images of you, taken without your permission or knowledge, for ulterior motives. Images can be developed of you that may compromise your position or credibility that could be difficult to prove as falsified. The problem with Brainwave Computing is, that what you imagine, becomes your memory.
If an individual with an ulterior motive has an image of you in mind and consciously imagines you an alternate setting or situation, that is unreal, it still forms as a memory which could be relayed onto a digital device that is Brain Computer Interface enabled, and stored or formed as a photograph, or worse, more convincingly, a moving video. This is hard image considering where Brainwave computing is today, but just months ago, MindRDR was unimaginable to most persons as well. The fact is, the technological capability of which alarms are being raised herein, is on the horizon.
A nightmare scenario that could come true, is of disgruntled employees or colleagues in the workplace or random strangers in public places or even friends you trust, may abuse the technology at their disposal to form convincing images of you in compromising positions, mentally, and instructing software on PCDs with their thoughts, to create and store those images, which can be uploaded onto the web for distribution, all too easily. And the perfection of quality of such products of malicious minds will likely be so convincing, it may be even impossible to disprove their authenticity. The worst of possibilities is that of innocent and unsuspecting individuals have images of themselves falsified with just malicious imagination or smart morphing simply by thought, turning up in pornography, something could be excruciatingly damaging and traumatising. If someone can invisible photograph you, by simply relaying what they see when looking at you, remotely through Invisible Telekinetic means, this is a real possibility, or should one say, a frightening threat.
When one does not need to use hands to interact or interface with technology, the barriers to what one’s mind can do with access to technology begin to evaporate, where it is imagination that necessary instead of skill. The problem with imagination however, is that it is not always necessarily righteous.
A recent conversation on a Linkedin group drew attention to automated robots writing the news soon after events occur, for media agencies. This lead a veteran Futurist to ponder the prospect of automated technology eventually using the same system and algorithms to create automated AI enabled robots or systems to forecast or plan scenarios, rendering redundant human Futurists.
The concept is self-defeating. Primarily, Artificial Intelligence is the set rules in programme coding, which instructs and enables a software or hardware, to identify and sequence or pattern through detection, and then to respond according to a pre-programmed prescribed action.