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July 3, 2017

5:05 PM

Is Artificial Intelligence no longer a threat to humans?

Francisco Miraval

For years, I have heard again and again that the growing and seemingly unstoppable presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our world and in our lives should be understood as a threat to our future. However, during the past few months that negative approach against AI seems to have diminished and perhaps even turned into a positive approach.

I must say that, of course, there has always been a positive view of AI. However, most of the time that positive version was mostly reserved to movies or TV series. Contrary to that, many reports, studies, and news stories seems to also adopt the positive view of AI.

Regarding the negative approach, a recent report by Oxford University warned that AI could cause the elimination of up to 90 percent of the Jobs we now have, thus creating a chaotic socio-economic situation for most people on this planet.

Also, world-renown scientist Stephen Hawking said that if we, humans, ever create a super-human AI, then that will be the last creation ever made by humans because, at that point, we will no longer be the dominant species on this planet.

However, a new narrative about AI seems to be emerging (or, most likely, it was also there and I am just becoming aware of it.) For example, a report published by TecNovedoso says that very probably AI will not replace certain jobs, such as kindergarten and elementary school teachers, professional athletes, politicians, judges, and mental health professionals.

And according to the International Federation of Robotics, interactive robots such as SIMA (a robotic body powered by a smartphone) are now being used as social and education tools to stimulate learning about preschool students.

Because of those interactions, AI will eventually create more jobs than the jobs it will replace, according to a report by the Bank of America. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) will require millions of experts during the next few years.

Other reports by the World Economic Forum and the European Commission seem to confirm that indeed we should take a positive approach towards AI because AI (as previous technology did) will create more jobs than the jobs lost.

What kinds of new jobs will we have? According to the article “Don’t Be Afraid of Technology”, by Silvia Leal (El Pais, June 28, 2017) those new jobs will be, among others, give AI to objects, develop augmented reality filters, working with 3D printers, working with drones, and AI applied to health care and medicine.

Also, “AI is similar to electricity” it will generate new businesses in many sectors”, said Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu, according to an article published by MIT Technology Review.

In conclusion, it seems that, in spite of negative predictions, the new age of AI perhaps won’t be a dark age for humans after all, because AI will improve our education and health and it will create millions of new jobs and countless new business opportunities.

Is that really the case? We will soon find out. 

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