Technology is an ever-expanding field. New leaps and bounds are made on a daily basis. Some of those are small but some of them change the way we look at the field forever. The most recent such change was the introduction of Artificial Intelligence.
The concept of humans creating machines that can make decisions for themselves is absolutely astounding. Don’t you think so? Well, look at it this way. This is the closest mankind has reached to recreate human conscience.
How amazing is that? Artificial Intelligence enables us to do everything that an ordinary human can without the need for human intervention. Whether it is mental labour or physical labour, we have successfully been able to recreate human intelligence to complete those individual tasks.
A mining company in Australia recently discovered a new way to apply this new and exciting field of technology into their business. Using Computer Vision and geological data, the company was able to locate exactly where the concentration of minerals was maximum.
This enabled them to start working on that particular zone and generate maximum profit. Now assume a mining company did not have access to this amazing piece of technology. They would have had to manually excavate in multiple regions with the hope of finding what they were looking for.
If one were to proceed this way, it would take a lot of time. It would also lead to unnecessary use of manual labour and let us not forget the harmful impact of having multiple digging sites on the environment. It would lead to deforestation as well as the local fauna getting hurt.
The risk of miners facing breathing problems due to inhalation of harmful fumes from these mines would also increase. This makes the use of Artificial Intelligence highly efficient, safe and environment friendly. This is just one example of how the use of A.I. has helped humankind.
You can find many such cases on the Internet and each one of them is more fascinating than the other. Doctors are using A.I. powered imaging machines to quickly detect many diseases like Pneumonia and Cancer. Petroleum companies are using A.I. to extract and refine the best quality of petroleum and petroleum products.
A.I. is also being used in fields that you would not have thought of in a million years. Take a look at this- The Google-backed TensorFlow project, which happens to be one of the most premier machine learning projects, was used to identify plants that could have diseases in poor regions of the world like Africa.
The farmers were able to quickly treat these plants and save their crops from dying. It may not seem like a big thing to many people, but for those poor farmers who were completely dependent on these crops for their livelihood, it certainly was.
With more and more companies shifting towards automation, the popularity of A.I. does not seem to be slowing down at all. Different fields of A.I. like Machine Learning or Deep Learning are hot topics for the new and upcoming generations. A.I. is the cake and everyone wants a piece of it.
Yes, Artificial Intelligence is great. But we cannot ignore the other side of the coin. With the increasing number of jobs being replaced by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, the unemployment rates are through the roof. Companies have realized that a one-time investment in A.I. and its subsidiaries is much more cost-efficient than having to repeatedly pay for manual labour.
Even industries in developing countries choose to use A.I. rather than employing unskilled labour. Unskilled labour is the backbone of the gross domestic product in developing countries. If they are ignored, then the economy of that nation would crash eventually. According to recent unemployment studies, around 65 million (6.5 crores) jobs have been lost because of the advent of A.I.
First, it is the small jobs. Like putting on the caps in a toothpaste factory. The unskilled labour here is replaced by machines which can seal those tubes of toothpaste properly while maintaining hygiene. Then comes a moderately harder job that requires some skills, like in a cloth factory.
All the workers would be replaced by machines that can stitch clothes with even more efficiency. They use fewer resources to function and make way fewer mistakes. Then the higher and more demanding jobs will be replaced. They haven’t been replaced yet, but they will be soon. Have no doubt about that.
This capitalistic ideology has definitely become a bane for the unskilled workers. But not everything is as bad as it sounds. Yes, it is true that over 65 million (6.5 crores) jobs have been lost due to this advancement in the field of A.I. But reports also suggest that there are around 155 million (15.5 crores) new jobs that have been created. That’s 90 million (9 crores) new jobs.
Although these jobs are not suitable for the unskilled community. These new jobs that have been created are heavily related to the field of Artificial Intelligence. So, one must possess the required skills in order to access these new jobs. This gives an incredible opportunity to the governments of different countries worldwide to upskill their labour force. This could be especially beneficial to underdeveloped countries. They have a very good opportunity to shift from a heavily unskilled labour force to a heavily skilled labour force.
With the amazing reach of the internet, this transformation can be achieved for very cheap as well. There are a plethora of videos on video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo where you can learn for free. Certification courses are available on online education platforms like Coursera or edX. These courses are available for free or for some small fee.
The computer science world is encouraging the open source community to grow. Such that anyone can access it for free and learn or improve it. Artificial Intelligence projects like the Tesseract act project which is currently maintained by Google has made the entire project open-sourced. Which means aspiring Machine Learning or Deep Learning scientists can learn from the comfort of their own home.
The concept of AI in the workforce has been a topic of debate between visionaries for years. Most of them think that A.I. in our everyday lives is the correct step towards success. Here is a quote from American technological investor Ray Kurzweil that best describes the quick and uncertain evolution of A.I. throughout the years.
“Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.”
Here is a quote by Klaus Schwab, The Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, that speaks of the uncertain nature of A.I. and how we must be very careful in handling it.
“We must address, individually and collectively, moral and ethical issues raised by cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which will enable significant life extension, designer babies, and memory extraction.”
We have to learn to adapt to the continuously changing world of Artificial Intelligence. If we do not, then we are just going to be left behind. The world has to learn how to evolve and how to evolve quickly in order for it to survive.
Countries have to invest more in human resource development in order to make a competent workforce to tackle the challenges thrown by A.I. so that we can access the goodness that it offers. Rejecting A.I. is a foolish idea. It is coming.
It is a part of our lives. From Alexa to the Internet, A.I. is a part of our day to day activities. If we are unable to cope today, then a tomorrow is out of the question. We cannot abandon it either as many countries have already developed themselves into a highly skilled workforce nation.
In conclusion, Artificial Intelligence has too many merits for us to ignore. It is efficient, cheap and safe. But it also has a few dangerous demerits. We have to upskill our workforce to be able to tackle A.I. properly to keep the world economy afloat. Artificial Intelligence is bound by uncertainty. So we must be prepared for what it is going to bring. It could be the thing that saves mankind from extinction. If mishandled, it could also be its doom.
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