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


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 code­bots that are ca­pa­ble of writ­ing code for us. They can write on av­er­age, up­wards of 90% of the tar­get code thanks to our in­no­va­tion process. 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

Big pic­ture thinker and Star Wars fa­natic

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