Expert's View on AI

Do All Experts Agree?

No, not everyone believes AI will take over everything and replace the human being, but it will certainly take over many tedious and dangerous tasks and improve productivity.

Below there are extracts (in italics) from a number of articles in various magazines and newsletters with my comments.

From an article in IT-Pro
Speaking at HPE Discover in Las Vegas, executive VP and GM of HPE Software, Robert Youngjohns, called the idea of AI and machine learning replacing humans "fanciful".
"Everything and everyone is producing data, whether it's enterprise apps, mobile phones, wearable devices, thermostats, sensors, log files, and more and more," said Youngjohns. "[What] Machine learning does is employ advanced techniques - statistical inference, pattern recognition, artificial neural networks - to understand information in context and reveal hidden insights and predict outcomes"
"We need a pragmatic way to get and harness this, to augment human intelligence of our people and our organisation. This isn't about replacing people. Sometimes there's this fanciful view of machine learning and artificial intelligence will be replacing the intelligent [people] is a little far fetched. This is about augmenting human intelligence, making our people more insightful, more effective and more responsive so we can collectively deliver superior business outcomes," he added.

My comment: He may be right when it comes to intellectual work but the physical and routine type of work will certainly be replaced by automation in almost all cases and it will happen fast in countries like Sweden with the high cost of labor and the low cost of money for investments.

“It’s this ability to learn and automate complex tasks that has led some to believe roles such as lawyers, professors, and journalists are under threat. But AI is more likely to enhance these roles than replace the human element. For example, the Associated Press recently introduced AI driven reporting which, instead of replacing a role, has enabled it to report on Minor League baseball for the first time in its history.”

My comment: Here I agree that it will take a long time – if ever – for AI to replace the human element fully. Even if it could, perhaps we don’t want it to go that far. Therefore we have to be careful when we develop AI systems, especially when we integrate different AI systems with each other or with executing machines. This problem is discussed in the next article from IT-Pro which continues the discussion: http://www.itpro.co.uk/strategy/29848/is-artificial-intelligence-safe?_m...

Some extracts:
In April, Kai-Fu Lee, founder of leading venture capital firm Sinovation, told CNBC AI will kill 50% of jobs within the next decade.
Research from Infosys, meanwhile, showed that 90% of organizations believe employees have concerns about the adoption of AI. The same company found 53% of businesses believe ethical concerns will stop AI from being as effective as it can be.

There are also questions about privacy. How do we know that AI systems aren't tracking us and that companies are using this data inappropriately? Can we ever be sure AI is truly safe? Bad AI can mean life or death!

Specialist software design and engineering company Aricenis one of the pioneers of commercial in the world of artificial intelligence, having provided AI and machine learning expertise to the likes of IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon. As you would expect, the CTO of the company, Walid Negm, is a huge believer in the technology but believes that organisations need to show responsibility when using it.
AI models are only as good as the underlying historical observations used to build them. When the data do not accurately represent the real world or are biased in some way, the recommendations, suggestions, and forecasts can quickly run amok. The recent failure of the "mushroom-identifying app" highlighted the dangers of bad AI.

Data challenges
Nick Patience, research vice president of software at 451 Research, says AI will certainly have an impact on jobs but that the most challenging problem will be around data. He explains that companies need to create systems that are transparent and ethical. "AI and machine learning-driven applications will initially take over certain tasks - rather than entire jobs - currently performed by humans. Initially, this will be the most repetitive and mundane tasks. Over time, though, some jobs will be replaced entirely, in areas such as transportation and retail," he tells IT Pro.
"Data is the feedstock of AI, especially unstructured data, giving insights into customer intent, employee behavior. However, as consumers realise quite how much data is being collected on them to fuel these models and algorithms, there will be pushback as more stringent privacy controls are demanded.
…….
Jane Zavalishina, CEO of Yandex Data Factory, argues that firms will likely struggle to integrate AI systems into existing business operations and humans will still be more capable in other areas, such as common sense and compassion.
"Due to its ability to make better predictions or recommendations for routine decisions, AI will become a natural part of business. While we may argue about job automation, task automation is inevitable. This leads us to a core challenge: successfully integrating functions, now executed by AI, into the existing business processes," she says.
…….
Meanwhile, Dr. Aniko Ekart, senior lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham, says AI will become a core part of our daily lives, introducing many benefits rather than challenges. "Artificial intelligence and robotics aren't science fiction anymore; they are becoming part of our daily lives. Research in this field is driven by curiosity about how humans and animals operate, as much as desire to improve quality of life. The rapid advances are certainly leading to reduced need for some jobs and skills, while continuously changing and shaping other jobs," she says.
……..
It's clear that over the next few decades, artificial intelligence technologies will play an integral role in our daily lives and society. But while there will be benefits, the technology industry can't shy away from the challenges. Businesses need to take in mind the impact AI will have on jobs and develop systems that put safety first.

My comment: This is why I think AI and automation will have a greater impact on certain types of work like industrial and transport than other types like public servants and schools.

Some Predictions
A global survey of AI experts anticipates the technology will outperform humans in many activities over the next ten years. The study, conducted by the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford and the Department of Political Science at Yale University, predicts that machines will soon be better at translating languages (by 2024), writing essays (by 2026), driving a truck (by 2027), working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049), and working as a surgeon (by 2053). It also predicts there's a 50% chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks within 45 years and of automating all human jobs by 2040.

My comment: These prediction may be a little too conservative. Right now Waymo announced they will start with self-driving cars in Arizona: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/11/07/get-ride-google-and-there... and most car manufacturers are doing tests. But before all human drivers are obsolete, it may take 10 years or so.

Reskilling Is Essential
According to an inquiry by the UK government's Science and Technology Committee, reskilling the population is essential to respond to AI automation trends and ensure the job security of thousands (My highlight). Google's AI research unit, DeepMind, told the committee: "[One of the] most all important steps we must take is [ensuring] that current and future workforces are sufficiently skilled and well-versed in digital skills and technologies, particularly STEM subjects."

My comment: Obviously Sweden is not alone in being affected by the AI-revolution, all countries are, but our politicians seem less aware of any problems although our industry is well into adopting and developing the AI-based technology. In the UK e.g. the government has initiated a study: (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/industry-led-review-details-plans-to-...)
The report makes 18 recommendations for how to make the UK the best place in the world for businesses developing AI to start, grow, and thrive including:
Skills - increasing the UK’s AI expertise through new initiatives including an industry-funded Masters programme, and conversion courses to bring a broader range of people into the field
Increasing uptake - helping organisations and workers understand how AI can boost their productivity and make better products and services, including public services
Data - ensuring that people and organizations can be confident that use of data for AI is safe, secure and fair by making more data available, including from publicly-funded research
Research - building on the UK’s strong record in cutting-edge AI research, including making the Alan Turing Institute a national institute for AI
These recommendations will now be carefully considered in discussions towards a potential Industrial Strategy sector deal between government and the AI industry.
As part of the Industrial Strategy, the government has increased investment in research and development over the next 4 years by £4.7 billion to create jobs and raise living standards, including through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The Business Secretary announced in April that the first £1 billion of investment is being made in 6 key areas in 2017 to 2018, driving progress and innovation that will create opportunities for businesses and sectors across the UK.

A Survey of AI in The US
If you want to know what is happening in the US, this is a link to a good article in CBInsights:
https://www.cbinsights.com/research/jobs-automation-artificial-intellige...

My Final Conclusion:
In the UK the government has understood how important AI is and will therefore actively support implementation and research. In Sweden, there is very little of that although the industry seems to have wakened up: https://computersweden.idg.se/2.2683/1.684620/osa-pengar-over-ai. (Use Google Translate to get an English version)
However, it’s not enough to leave the introduction of AI into the society to the industry alone. The whole society must be ready and adapted to AI and the revolution it implies and that is something only the politicians can do.

Wake up Swedish politicians and the Swedish people! We must do something about AI Skills, Uptake, Data, and Research for Sweden to remain competitive!