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on March 21, 2019 Artificial Intelligence

Fear of AI takeover: Why are we afraid of machines?

The robots are taking over – dystopian science fiction or distant reality?

From taking our jobs to controlling the human race, there’s definitely a fear surrounding AI and its applications today. Some scientists think that the ‘singularity’ - the moment when AI becomes self-conscious - may happen in this generation. However, the majority of them are less convinced.

What do we know right now?

As Teemu Kinos pointed out in this article on combining human and artificial intelligence, Merriam Webster defines artificial intelligence as “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”

The operative word here arguably is “imitate.” As the old saying goes, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Perhaps this definition will need an update in the next 5-15 years as we gain a greater glimpse of the power AI may wield, but for now, there doesn’t at least seem to be many indicators that AI is going to rise up and take over the human race. AI is arguably actually quite primitive in its current form. This means that a) we won’t ever reach that singularity point, or b) or if we do, it’s a very, very (very) long way away.

Automation – adapt or die

Today, we are sitting on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution, with more jobs to be automated than ever before.

One of the most commonly cited reasons why people are against the idea/use of artificial intelligence is the fear that AI will automate their jobs and make them redundant. And as the historian Yuval Noah Harari states in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the potential redundancy of humans may actually be more severe problem for the humankind than the exploitation of the poorest. That is quite a bold statement I would say, but makes sense when you give yourself a moment to really think about it.

According to a prediction by a Swiss think tank named the World Economic Forum, robots will displace 75 million jobs globally by 2022 but will simultaneously create 133 million new ones. That’s a net positive of 58 million jobs – not a bad result if it’s to be believed.  

A Gartner report also predicts that by the end of 2019, AI will be creating more jobs that it’s taking. Cited in Forbes, manufacturing is the industry due to suffer the most following greater automation, with approximately 1.8 millions jobs disappearing. The Gartner reports finds, however, that approx. 2.3 million will be created in other industries.

As technology advances and we continue to implement AI to solve new problems and automate more than ever before, those who are able to ride the change and adapt to its usage will strive, while those who fear its impact will ultimately get crushed in its wake.

Don’t "Tay-ke" chances

As we have previously discussed in a previous blog post, much of the AI used today is done so with a human-to-human approach. This means that the AI takes training data from humans, processes it, and then the knowledge is distributed back to support and augment human learning and work.

But how do we train AI using public data without incorporating the worst aspects of humanity? One such worst-case scenario occurred from the Microsoft Technology and Research and Bing teams and their AI project Tay.

TechCrunch reports that the AI bot, designed for human engagement and “conversational understanding” was shut down less than 24 hours after being launched for making offensive or racist statements. The bot was designed to learn from people it interacted with, it wasn’t purposefully designed to be racist. This goes to show that ultimately our AI projects are only ever as good as the data that trains them.

By the way, we are proudly taking part in Microsoft ScaleUp, which is an immersive program providing sales, marketing and technical support for qualified startups.

So how do we prevent misuse cases such as these in the future? Well, one option is the following. A stringent set of filters based on predetermined values and ethics need to be applied by the engineers to ensure that people can’t take advantage of the otherwise neutral AI bots.

What are humans better at than machines?

It’s documented that machines are better than humans at a lot of different things. What about the other way around?What are humans better at than machinesMachines can most likely not replace human creativity and emotional intelligence.

Creativity has been the backbone of human development for a long time and there will always be room for great people to produce great ideas in every walk of life. Machines aren’t going to be able to take away that from us.

The next is empathy. Empathy is naturally a human trait that we basically have from birth. There are reports which have shown the ability of babies and toddlers to understand and relate to the happiness and sadness of others. While this is something that we innately know, we also develop greater empathy emotional intelligence through socialization.

What this boils down to is that machines and AI will most likely not be able to replicate the same creativity and emotional intelligence and that makes us human. Humans also want to interact with other humans. Whether its customer service or working in marketing, human interaction is a craving for us.

At GetJenny, we also believe that chatbots are designed to enrich and enhance human’s lives and make them more rewarding. This means instead of replacing people, the teams who use our AI chatbots have more time to provide quality support to those in needs of empathy and complex problems that need the human touch.

In case you are interested in better understanding our AI chatbot projects, you can watch this on-demand webinar or directly book a demo with our business development team.

Watch the webinar - How to run a successful chatbot project

As honesty is our core value, we’d like to mention that professional writers have helped us
with this text.

Mikko Rindell

Digital Marketing Lead