The Job Landscape with Artificial Intelligence: Why You Shouldn't Fear AI


27 February 2017



Despite the huge strides made (and still being made) in artificial intelligence, there is still no substitute for the human brain. Sure, I might not be able to beat the computer in chess but I'd like to see it develop a model capable of writing code. One of the ways in which AI would alter the workforce is by changing employees job descriptions. Instead of spending time on mundane, repetitive tasks, we could use robots to automate these tasks. As a result, it would free up more time for humans to spend on meaningful tasks (like practicing my putting).

At a recent panel focusing on digital trends, Blue Ocean Robotics founder Ivan Storr said "fear is a barrier, but we can engage people and show them how the field of robotics is actually creating jobs." Why am I so confident we won't all be broke and living on the street? Well it's because we've seen this before. Technological advances in agriculture in the 20th century were met with fear of long-term mass unemployment. Instead of mass unemployment, we saw jobs changing. As technology advanced to the point where it was able to fertilise crops with minimal human intervention, employees dedicated to fertilising crops would instead be left in charge of maintaining the technology or improving it.

Society continues to adapt. Calculation and deductive reasoning form only one very particular class of mental processes. As a result, there is a variety of tasks beyond the scope of computers due to the current structural limitations of the machines and their type of logic. Indeed, technology will evolve to remove some of these limitations but there will always be a way of thinking, unique to humans.

The Backup Plan?

Many have begun hypothesising about this automated future. Indeed, while a lot of jobs will be re-structured, there may be certain jobs that are no longer necessary. How do we combat the negatives of unemployment when employment isn't necessary? Switzerland have proposed one solution. In a recent referendum, Swiss voters had their say on a universal base income where each individual receives their wage from the government. Ultimately the referendum was unsuccessful, with only 23% in favour of a universal base income. Elon Musk believes there is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something similar, due to automation. Currently, technology hasn't advanced to the point where a UBI is necessary but with more jobs changing, UBI could be a big plus in an artificially intelligent future (the Swiss are famous for coming up with big plus', just look at their flag).

Current Artificial Intelligence

In order to see the direction AI is heading, it helps knowing where it's currently at. There are a few companies leading the way in artificial intelligence. WorkingMouse is no exception. We have developed a platform engineering tool, 'codebots' which is capable of writing code for us. They can write on average, upwards of 90% of the target code thanks to our innovation process. Codebots is designed to modernise enterprise software delivery for digital transformation and legacy systems.

However, WorkingMouse doesn't merely consist of codebots writing code. These codebots work in tandem with our software developers, simplifying mundane, repetitive tasks so that we may spend our time on more meaningful tasks. Ultimately we live in a tech-centric society that's constantly evolving. This may incite fear, but in the past humans have adapted as society has changed, there will always be a role for human intelligence as we move toward this concept of 'Utopia'.

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Eban Escott

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