Monday, January 27, 2014

Week 1/20

                                                     A.I. is a Double Edged Sword

I was not sure about what to cover in such blogs until I read some other students' blogs. Thus, this post is a few hours late with respect to the deadline, and I apologize.

In the news  "Robots Go to War: March of the Robots," after introducing many fancy examples of robots and their application, it raises a concern that robots facilitate military attacks and help officers avoid public criticizing. However, I do not think this is the biggest issue caused by A.I.

Firstly, there is an economical drawback of A.I. regardless its power to boost productivity. As we know, A.I. and robot (A.I. facilitated machine) can replace human force in many places. For example, 30 years ago, it might need 20 technicians to assemble a car; nowadays, it needs only two technicians and a automatic assembly line. Such phenomenon is not unique at all. Beyond manufacturing industry, in stock market, brokers' efficiency is highly supported by computers and programs. In a big commercial law sue, it used to require hundreds of analysts to read contracts and reports, but now it only needs ten. All this facts lead to conclusion that there are less jobs provided by large companies or factories. Now you may argue that similar situation of technology boosting productivity happened before, in the 1st and 2nd Industrial Revolution, and we were fine back then. In my perspective, the situation is not completely the same. A research shown that two centuries ago, 98% of USA citizens were peasant, and now there is only 2%. This means that there was a shift in job type, and people used two hundred years to adapt. For my generation, thing develops much faster, in 2006, A.I. can hardly drive a car, but in last year, Google Mobile's debut was surprisingly good. It is not hard to imagine that in the short future, taxi drivers (a new type of job appeared in last two hundred years, and some peasants become taxi drivers) are very likely lose their jobs.

What I am trying to say is that while A.I. facilitates human being from all aspects, it also changes working structures dramatically. Similar situation did happen in the 1st and 2nd Industrial Revolution; however, people had relatively longer time to adapt to such shift in job. Nowadays, things change within one generation (typically 1990's), my concern is that are people ready/capable to survive in "A.I. Revolution?"

P.S. Our unemployment rate is unprecedented now (not taking account into the recession in 1930's).

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