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Artificial Intelligence: the path to the future nobody wants?

Terminator

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recent years have been phenomenal.

State-of-the-art robotics and AI are no longer a thing of science fiction but of science fact. I have been fascinated by some of the commentary regarding the impact on the job market.

Moshe Vardi told the American Association for the Advancement of Science: “We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task”. He believes the global job market could reduce by 50% over the next 30 years due to advancements in robotics. And he isn’t alone; in 2013, two Oxford professors predicted that as much as 47% of the US workforce were at risk of disappearing due to automation.

This raises some grave questions on the future of our society: what does that mean for us? If driverless cars are commonplace in 30 years how will taxi drivers make a living? Driverless metro and subway trains are already seen all over the world…

We find ourselves in a situation where a relatively small working population has to support a growing proportion of older people. How will Governments generate enough taxes from those who are working?  AI could make a bad situation significantly worse.

So is the advancement of AI a good thing? Stephen Hawking has been stark in his warnings – “it could spell the end of the human race”. That’s a pretty bleak prediction.

As someone who has spent his career in the recruitment sector, the availability of a jobs market is somewhat critical to my own ability to make a living!

I would be interested to hear views on whether you feel the seemingly inexorable advancement of AI is truly to the benefit of the human race – or to its detriment and eventual downfall?

Andrew McIntee is Managing Partner of New Street.

This article was also published on Pulse. If you’d like to comment, please do so here.

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