Artificial Intelligence – Will it be a blessing or a bane?

 

Currently, AI is the most discussed topic amongst the IT fraternity  and even in the enterprises. Well, the concept of AI took shape in the 1950s and today, it has evolved to be a very intuitive concept and reality.

Artificial intelligence refers to intelligence that is used by machines for a pre-defined purpose. Currently, it relates to top-level computer software or programs that are capable of handling complex decision-making procedures or processes.

The concept of artificial intelligence was formally introduced at the Dartmouth Conference in 1956 under the leadership of Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy along with Claude Shannon and Nathan Rochester who are senior scientists at the IBM. During the conference, the term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ was termed by John McCarthy.

Marvin Minsky, a cognitive scientist stated in simplest of words that Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines do things that would require intelligence if done by men.  His contributions towards artificial intelligence include the first learning machine – SNARC or Stochastic Neural Analog Reinforcement Calculator and confocal microscope

On the other hand, John McCarthy concentrated on Knowledge Representation while first attempts in natural language processing – NLP was taken up as a joint experiment conducted by IBM and Georgetown University. The experiment involved in the translation of sentences in the Russian language into English through a computer.

An example of artificial intelligence in recent times – in a first of its kind, 50,000 cans of Budweiser beer were delivered by a self-driven truck covering 120 miles between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, Colorado in October 2016. Of course, it was a trial with the truck driver seated in the sleeper berth located rear to the driver’s seat monitoring the drive as well as the delivery of the beer consignment.

In this era of post-industrial revolution where mass mechanization has become the order of the day, AI has to be considered as a dynamic offshoot of human progress. It is an amalgamation of cognitive thinking and technology that can change the way humans not only work but live as well. The practical implementation of AI has revolutionized the functioning of myriad processes across every sphere that relies on computer software.

With an expansion of economies, more in-depth figures and graphs flow in and hence the onset of Big Data and Cloud storage which is being used to predict future market trends and consumer behavior.  Automation and mass production of goods and services has met up with increasing demand and supply in cohesion across the ever-expanding global markets.

Artificial Intelligence software has been developed that uses algorithms to work upon the available big data for further analysis, research, and automation of routine processes. The outcome of this is naturally enhanced productivity levels, better quality control and reduction in costs due to the decrease in labor required.  Over the years, in-depth research in AI boasts of handling the creative aspects in the field of literature and art as well.

This brings forth to yet another dimension of functional capabilities of human beings. What are we humans supposed to do if AI takes care of major as well as the minor technical process across every possible industry?

Would the man versus machine phenomenon still exist or to what extent would the percentage of unemployment go up or down? Will the sci-fi hyped age of robotics finally take over every routine or process in the near future? Naturally, the skepticism is high but on the overall, the scene is very much likely to improve.

Many studies have been conducted on the impact of AI on the job front with not so promising inferences soon. Displacement is likely to occur at higher rates in industries that produce basic human requirements i.e textiles, footwear, apparel, road transportation (automated driving) followed by a section of white collared jobs such as writing legal briefs and so on.

For instance, one of Forrester’s reports suggests that by 2027, nearly 17% of US jobs will be automated. At the same time, automation will be responsible for adding nearly 10% of jobs to the US economy.

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As the graph readings from the blog articulates, there will be rapid progress in retail warehouse robots, virtual assistants, sensory and cognitive intelligence areas. At the same time, robotic processes especially in industries will gain speed and will be implemented successfully by the end of this decade.

Another report jointly released by Citi and University of Oxford predict that nearly 80% retail jobs are likely to be automated which could displace low skilled workers in a large scale joblessness in the economy.

Could a robot take your job?  Yes, it could happen…Rough estimates state that nearly 5 million jobs especially sales jobs, front office clerks, and telemarketers could be taken over by robots.  Their infographic explains the scenario much clearly

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On the overall, AI-based jobs would involve a different skill set that could encompass the ability to collaborate, solve issues creatively and even communicate effectively. Some of the emerging AI segments are – speech recognition, virtual assistants and agents, language generation, machine learning platforms, deep learning platforms, natural language processing and text analysis, AI optimized hardware.

As per the latest news update, Amazon and Microsoft have inked a deal through which their virtual assistants viz. Alexa and Cortana will be able to communicate with each other verbally and access features too.  Both the CEOs expressed their ardent wish that their services must be easily accessible to their customers and if this takes place through their virtual assistants, it would be a great landmark.

Today, AI has stealthily seeped into technical processes that minimize or involve human interaction, for instances, automated assistance services, booking services, banking services and lot more. Soon, almost every sphere of life; be it medical, legal, educational, social and will be AI enabled. This could make living easier and hassle-free as much as possible.

Transforming the world into a high tech one, it would be normal to live in a world of driverless cars, lifesaving deliveries, drone deliveries, self-driven trucks, dispatchers handled by robots and seamless solutions to critical issues of today, that’s what artificial intelligence promises to deliver.

In the future, AI is surely going to play a predominant role but a definite magnitude cannot be ascertained at this level.

Considering the research efforts and funds pumped in the developing artificial intelligence, it would come as no surprise that a day would come when the machine could equal the cognitive analytical and reasoning capacity of the human mind.

Being a dynamic lot, we human beings are equally adept at absorbing lifestyle changes, inventions, discoveries and much more with the progressing pace of time.  Undoubtedly, artificial intelligence will lead us to embark upon new lifestyle trends bringing forth innovations in job profiles, roles and in giving us a new challenge to overcome and conquer.

 

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