For the past few decades, first-world countries have been simultaneously amazed and afraid about the present and future impact of technology. Since the first computer was invented in the 20th century, mankind has learned to utilize them in almost every way imaginable. This ranges from the multi-functional smartphones in our pockets to launching satellites into space and having them orbit the earth. All these advances in technology have the commonality of having been invented to benefit us as humans and make our lives easier. However, is there a point where it is too much? People have always been afraid of artificial intelligence from watching movies like “The Terminator” and “The Matrix”, that depict a harmful progression of technology. However, I do not think that artificial intelligence taking over the world is our biggest concern for the immediate future. Our biggest threat is the realization that normal robots and advanced software could take over most jobs in almost every major industry in the world in the next decade. As seen in this article, even leaders of the tech industry such as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, think this is a very real possibility.
Science fiction movies and stories are extremely popular due to their themes of advanced, space-faring, and even apocalyptic futures. They have mass appeal from unlimited creative space but also a tendency to exploit peoples’ fear of the unknown. In popular cases, the most fearful of these are the uncertainty of extraterrestrial life and the development of advanced, even sentient, technology. However, while these are good stories, they are just that, stories. The reality is that people should not be afraid of robots taking over the world by mass-murder and war, but by dominating the economy. Most factories already have robots and machines in place that perform the work of hundreds of workers at less than a fraction of the cost. Companies are realizing that machines are simply the better option than workers due to their extreme efficiency, reliability, and cost savings. Where are the stories about this kind of future?
We need to better prepare for a narrowing job market. This means studying high-skill jobs that will still be needed like computer sciences and engineering! These are the industries I predict will still be relevant because they are involved with programming the machines, protecting them (cybersecurity), and physically building/maintain them. Essentially, this means that the youth of today should focus on more careers which cannot be effectively done by machines. These are areas where human creativity and innovation manifest themselves in the work like writing, software development, art, etc.
Will artificial intelligence take over the world someday? Maybe, but we are very away from that possibility at this time. Right now, more light needs to be shed on the increasing automation in enterprise around the globe so people can begin to adjust to it.