When it comes to technological advancement, we can either be a Luddite or an Embracer. What does that mean? Luddites were a group of people in the first industrial revolution who were angry that their trades were being replaced by machines. The many jobs required in order to complete one product were learned by one skilled artisan. A mechanical process eventually replaced every procedure, leaving the high grade skills redundant in favour of low skills button pressing. It's understandable that this is highly frustrating, maybe even hurtful.
This is human, however the Luddites took things one step further. They acted on their bad emotions and destroyed machines and factories. Those entrepreneurs who had invested in big manufacturing plants and employed hundreds of people were suddenly left with a huge bill. Communities suffered.
To embrace technology, we do first need to make peace with the idea that what we can do, a machine can do better. Yes it's a kick in the teeth and if we're already on the floor or struggling to make ends meet, it's a kick in the teeth while you're down. Even the mob would flinch at that level of disrespect. To make peace with progress requires a degree of guts and nerve.
Even the arts are touched by AI and robotics, see this list of modern advancements. Now we have people doing their thesis in teaching computers to think in very human ways. A modern AI machine is a bit like a small hyper intelligent baby. We can teach them all kinds of things and give them feedback on their thoughts. When we validate right answers, we teach them how the information they know relates in proper ways. We're not able to teach children exactly like this, people take a lot more time and have much more room for personal thought. Children tend to learn from being exposed to wisdom, they input and output and validate for themselves.
An AI mind is still an input and output machine, only the things that it knows have the power to be related in highly detailed and complex ways to give the illusion of personal wisdom. If we treat the device as a conscious being, we'd find it seems very much like it, until we trip it up. As soon as the logic that it is trained to work with breaks down, we uncover the computerised processes that cause it to work. An AI gaff is usually obvious where as humans tend to miss the mark by lesser amounts.
We must learn how to use these technologies and tools for our own benefits. We can either look at them as something bad or something good. Understanding the ways in which something is good and bad helps us to use them properly. Only with education can we make the right choice. There is little point in burying heads in the sand, we will still get swallowed up by progress. The best way to approach change is with an adaptive attitude.
With AI being a digital system, certain limitations are naturally inherent. When we understand what computers can do better than us, we are able to see what we do better than them. These poetry writing robots and art creating machines that rely on AI programming to operate have still been programmed. They're doing strict scientific and mechanical processes in their digital mind. There's no creativity, only the illusion of it.
Think about those clever headlines that make you press like and share before you've even read the piece. With clever insertions of emotion and with exaggerated claims, a well written headline can work harder than the journalist who wrote it. AI couldn't do this properly, as it doesn't know how to exaggerate without lying and it won't know which words to insert in order to give the right level of emotional kick. We could give it a huge database of previously written headlines that it can cannibalise but that's not really the same. It still won't know the best ones to choose, it will just choose one according to what best matches the figures. Line of best fit responses don't stand out.
Anything that requires several minutes or more of deep thought is probably out of reach for an AI device. Anything that requires us to think of something new or change our perception on something will not be able to be mechanised. Truly human operations such as imagination, dreaming, telling jokes, feeling empathy, sympathising, and many more like these are essential parts of most jobs. Most jobs require a level of human thought and no machine could replicate it properly. They can only imitate. This recent article about why humanities are important can help clarify what this really means. It's easy to tell when a doctor isn't actually listening with their human self, and they're in machine mode. It doesn't feel nice. The holistic role humans play in the work place will always be of great benefit.
Anything that can be done by a quick response from a person can likely be automated. Those jobs that don't require us to think for ourselves will be the first to go, and one day only jobs that require us to think for ourselves will be the ones left. So let's bear this in mind when we decide if progress is a good thing or not. We can't escape it, like taxes, change is something that no-one on Earth is immune from.
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