The news this week has been full of AI. There has been a great deal of talk about AI or robots taking up most of the human jobs by the end of the next decade. Visionaries like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have already voiced their concern over such a possibility in the near future. Hawking called for technology to be controlled in order to save the human race.
But what exactly is AI? Artificial Intelligence or AI is the science of making machines intelligent. It is a way of making a computer or software think like humans do. It comprises of many aspects like reasoning, listening, thinking and problem solving that are pertinent to humans. Usually we think of machines as monotonous and nonreciprocal. AI is the complete opposite of that notion. It makes machines interactive and learning from their previous encounters, just like humans.
The thought of AI replacing humans does seem like a frightening idea. And only because it is a completely possible scenario. One can see many jobs in the industry right now that can be perfectly replaced by robots due to the job’s triviality and monotonicity. Think of labourers in factories. Or waiters in a restaurant. Or cashiers in fast-food joints. The threat of AI replacing humans is very real and to some extent even logical. AI can do laborious jobs with better precision than humans with near negligible chances of error. Repetitive and time-consuming tasks can be done efficiently and in far less time. Robots are devoid of mood which affects human work.
They do not require rest or sleep and can work tirelessly without getting bored or complaining. AIs can be employed to do dangerous tasks like mining and ocean search without putting human life at risk. The medical benefits of AI in tumor research, cancer, radiosurgery etc. is unparalleled.
While there are many pros of AI employed in jobs, certain cons also come with them. Robots may handle repetitive tasks better than humans but they do not get better at it with time. Humans learn from their experiences and adapt better to changes in scenarios. For any change that is required in the output, programs need to be changed which increases the task rather than decreasing it. Right now, the cost of installing, maintenance and repair of robots is too high for it to be thought of as a viable alternative to humans. The cost of storage and retrieval of memory from AI is inefficient as compared to human memory. Machines lack emotion and the human touch. This bars them from many industries where the same is needed.
Concluding this article, AI replacing humans in many sectors will cost us a ton of jobs. It will make life convenient for many and disruptive for others. Increased maintenance of machines could pave the way for new jobs for humans. The ideal situation is the interaction of humans and machines in an ecosystem which can lead to a whole new level of production of goods and services. While one cannot imagine AI affecting daily lives at such a mass level today, the speed at which science is progressing, the idea is not too far away.