The Automation Age Has Arrived Heres How To Futureproof Yourself 3

The Automation Age Has Arrived: Here’s How To ‘Futureproof’ Yourself

The Automation Age – You may get left behind.

Are robots on their way to take your job? According to New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose, corporations and governments are rapidly using automation and artificial intelligence to reduce prices, automate workplaces, and eliminate jobs — and further changes are on the way.

“We need to prepare for the possibility that a lot of people are going to fall through the cracks of this technological transformation,” Roose says. “It’s happened during every technological transformation we’ve ever had, and it’s going to happen this time. And in fact, it already is happening.”

Roose explores the benefits and pitfalls of automation in his latest book, Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation, and focuses on how we as a society can responsibly handle technological innovation.

According to Roose, automation has the potential to lead to enormous scientific breakthroughs. “It could assist in the treatment of rare diseases. It has the potential to aid in the resolution of the climate crisis. It has the ability to do a multitude of incredible things that we desperately need “he believes.

Roose, on the other hand, expresses concern about the intentions of those in charge, specifically “executives at large corporations who are using automation to replace employees without changing their companies, without creating new goods.”

“They’re not attempting to reinvent or transform their companies,” he argues. “All they’re trying to do is do the same amount of work with less staff.”

Highlights from the Interview

The Automation Age Has Arrived: Here's How To 'Futureproof' Yourself 2

According to the logic that as technology evolves, new jobs arise

Because of that claim, I was really positive about this technology… because while automation and artificial intelligence would kill some jobs, they will generate new ones — and those new jobs will replace the lost ones. But as I dug deeper into the presence of AI and the history of automation, I discovered that it isn’t always that easy.

During the Industrial Revolution, for example, some people were unable to find jobs for an extended period of time. Wages for jobs did not keep up with corporate income for around 50 years. As a result, many of those who went through those technological revolutions… did not have a nice time. They weren’t really happier, or leading healthier lives, or becoming more prosperous as a result of this new technology.

However, there is a distinction today in that artificial intelligence is not simply replacing repetitive manual labour. It is also taking the place of repetitive cognitive labour. It can perform higher-value tasks than simply moving data around on a spreadsheet or car parts around in a factory. It may perform the duties of white-collar employees in fields that typically necessitate a college degree and advanced training. That is one distinction.

The other difference is that there has been some recent research published about the effect of automation on the economy. And it has been shown that, while for most of the twentieth century, technology generated new jobs faster than it destroyed old jobs, in recent decades, the reverse has been true: old jobs have been disappearing faster than new jobs have been created.

On the use of “bureaucratic bots” and algorithms to evaluate certain government aid services and criminal justice decisions.

I don’t think people know how many benefits, who qualify for nutrition assistance, and who qualifies for public housing are now decided by algorithms. And sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn’t. A few years ago, in Michigan, an algorithm used by the state to assess welfare eligibility misfired, and it incorrectly kicked a lot of people off their benefits, affecting people’s lives in true, concrete ways.

Other forms of bots and automation are being used by governments in the criminal justice system, such as predicting whether a given convict is likely to re-offend if released on parole. These algorithms are usually not available and inspected by the general public — they’re kind of “black boxes,” and we don’t really know how they function, and there isn’t much transparency for them. As a result, we have these enigmatic machines making decisions that impact the lives of millions… of people, and we have no idea what they’re doing.

The YouTube algorithm’s strength — and risk —

Google owns YouTube, and Google has the best AI analysis team in the United States. They are the authors of the most award-winning articles. They have the most prestigious Ph.D.s. They are at the forefront of artificial intelligence. And a lot of the research and experience has gone into honing this YouTube algorithm with these brand new techniques that are making it even more successful over the last decade. Approximately 70% of all time spent on YouTube is directly related to recommendations created by this algorithm….

The primary aim of this algorithm is to maximise watch time. So it’s learned that one of the best ways to keep viewers on YouTube for a long time is to introduce them to new ideas, maybe conspiracy theories, maybe more extreme versions of what they already believe, stuff that will take them down these rabbit holes. As a result, this has had an impact on politics. Our culture has been influenced by this. And as a result, some people have been radicalised because the algorithm figured radicalising them would be a good way to keep them watching YouTube.

Read: Are You Your Own connectome?

On occupations that are largely immune to automation

The more AI experts and computer scientists I spoke with, the more convinced I became that we have been training people for the future in the wrong way: we have been asking them to learn technological skills in fields such as computer science and engineering. We’ve been telling people to become as productive as possible in order to optimise their lives, to eliminate all inefficiencies and invest their time as efficiently as possible, in other words, to become more machine-like. And, in fact, what we should be teaching people is how to be more human, to do things that machines cannot.

Three forms of jobs, in my view, are unlikely to be automated in the near future. The first is “surprising jobs.” As a consequence, this is work that requires complex rules, evolving conditions, and unpredictable variables. Regularity is very critical to AI and automation. They enjoy simple rules, cramped spaces, and repetitive action. So, while AI can beat a human at chess, if you asked an algorithm to teach a kindergarten class, it would fail miserably because kindergarten is a very irregular environment with lots of surprises. So those unexpected jobs are the first jobs that I believe are reasonably secure.

Read: 19 Brutal Things You Need To Become Successful

The second group is what I refer to as “social work,” or jobs that include making people feel rather than making things. So there are positions in social services and health care, such as nursing therapists and ministers, but also people who do emotional labour as part of their jobs, such as flight attendants and baristas, who we don’t usually think of as “social” workers, but their jobs do include an aspect of making people feel things.

And the third type of work that I believe is secure is what I refer to as “scarce work.” And this is work that includes high-stakes scenarios, unusual skill combinations, or simply people who are experts in their fields. This will include workers that we have determined are not suitable for automation. We may use robots to replace all of the human 911 operators. The Technology does exist. However, if you dial 911 today, you can speak with a person, because we want humans to do the job when we are in trouble. We want a live person to answer the phone and assist us with our problems.

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