Artificial Intelligence : The Future
The next disruptive technology that human civilization is facing is artificial intelligence. However, it won’t be Terminator-style human-looking robots that want to kill all humans and rule the earth. Instead it will be robots in all shapes and sizes, designed to perform specific tasks like:
- Crawling in a mine searching for minerals,
- Moving through a vineyard, harvesting grapes,
- Working on a construction site building a sky scraper or
- Performing domestic work like cleaning floors or ironing clothes.
Artificial Intelligence software will take over the jobs of call centre operators, and even perform advisory roles like that of a law practitioner or a medical doctor. Artificial Intelligence operated cars, taxis and buses will drive themselves, while the autopilot on commercial airplanes will become more reliable than the human pilot with difficult tasks like take-of, landing and navigating storms.
Like all disruptive technologies before it, for example the industrial revolution or computer revolution, the AI revolution will bring with it creative destruction. It will destroy many jobs but will also create new kinds of jobs that require different skill sets.
Those who saw it coming will have prepared themselves, or more likely their children, with the necessary skills to become technology workers. Those who didn’t, will be left with the dim future of having to compete with autonomous intelligent robots that can work 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Victims and Beneficiaries
Like all other advancements in human history, it will create both beneficiaries and victims, people will debate whether it is a good or a bad thing, but irrespective of outcome of these debates, the AI revolution will be unstoppable and will re-shape modern civilisation.
Countries who had the foresight to prepare themselves will have built a base of technology workers. These countries and their economies and peoples will be the beneficiaries of the AI revolution. Those countries that didn’t prepare their people will find themselves competing with robots as cheap labour to the new markets, and operating costs of a robot will be less than even the lowest paid worker. These countries, economies and workers will be the victims of the AI revolution.
All of this is predicted to play out in the next few decades.
In most cases the technology is already there:
- Bipedal walking robots,
- Underground mining robots,
- Software that interprets and speaks in natural language,
- Autonomous cars that have been navigating highway and city traffic for the past few years.
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These technologies are there already and just need to be improved and made affordable for the masses. No-one can say for sure what kinds of opportunities will arise with the AI revolution, but the one thing we do know for sure is, it will create lots of jobs for technology workers.
Amongst these, it will require legions of electronic engineers and technicians to design and maintain these robots, to write the software for them and continually improve them.
Top 10 Occupations in demand in South Africa 2015
- Electrical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Quantity Surveyor
- Project Manager
- Finance Manager
- Physical & Engineering Science Technicians
- Industrial and Production Engineers
- Chemical Engineer
Watch TED Talk on The Coming AI Revolution
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