We don’t need to worry………yet

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017 by Venn GroupNo comments

The recruitment business is all about finding the right jobs for people. So let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment and consider if we as a profession need to worry – or worry yet – about artificial intelligence.

We need to be aware, if not yet concerned, for there are predictions that artificial intelligence will put a great many people out of work, at least in manual trades.

Why employ a hundred people when one robot can do the task just as quickly and perhaps more efficiently?

What do we mean by AI? Our friendly Wikipedia explains: In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal. The term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”, known as Machine Learning. As machines become increasingly capable, mental facilities once thought to require intelligence are removed from the definition.

But in the longer term, should we be asking what will happen if the research into powerful   AI succeeds, and an AI system becomes better than humans at all cognitive tasks. By inventing revolutionary new technologies, such a super-intelligence might help us eradicate war, disease, and poverty, and so the creation of strong AI might be the biggest event in human history.

It might also be the last, unless make sure that our control of AI matches our need for a just society before “something else” becomes superintelligent.

It’s not science fiction any more. There are scientists, or IT experts, working on this now. Of course, designing smarter AI systems is itself a cognitive task. Lest we not forget that behind every Enigma stands an Alan Turing. So we in the recruitment industry need to make sure we’re at the forefront of developments, working with the experts whose decisions and invention will determine all our futures.

Michael Burnip

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