Tesla’s worst decision to date, in my opinion, has been not revoking Elon Musk’s Twitter access. Before he made headlines for the infamous ‘Funding Secured’ tweet, Musk was involved in a Twitter war with another tech mogul, Mark Zuckerberg.
Musk and Zuckerberg disagreed on the impact AI would have, with Musk holding the opinion that ‘AI poses an existential threat to the human race,’ and Zuckerberg believing this opinion was ‘pretty irresponsible.’1
The need for a different approach
Musk may have been referring to the presumed widespread job loss that will occur as AI becomes more prevalent in the workplace. While it is likely AI will replace many of the tasks which currently fall to humans, this does not necessarily imply a shortage in jobs.
Since the widespread adoption of ATM machines in the US, the number of human bank tellers has not decreased, but rather doubled.2 And unemployment rates in both the US and UK sit at 3.9% and 4.0% respectively, implying the growth of the internet and new technologies has not negatively impacted job procurement.
AI will undoubtedly replace many of the tasks currently assigned to humans, but it also has the potential to create a multitude of new jobs. AI, after all, is a human creation and should be designed in a way that augments human capabilities, rather than replaces them. Organisations should assess what tasks are better done by machines against those that need a human touch and combine the two to create an efficient, productive workforce.
In order to create a sustainable human-robo workforce, the education system must be redesigned.
In the US, the 20th century, which witnessed the replacement of humans with machines for farm work, resulted in an increase of jobs because of the movement to ‘extend mandatory schooling through high school,’ which ‘ensured [there were] millions of literate, well-educated people ready to take on the jobs that the second half of the 20th century need.’3
Paul Clarke, CTO of Ocado, will speaking at the Work Reimagined Summit on the 5th of November, on why education needs to change to better prepare students for a future where automation is the norm.
An emphasis on digital, as well as interpersonal skills and creative thinking in the education system is crucial to prepare students for the tasks AI cannot do.
It is also essential for individuals to realise that education no longer ends when we receive our diplomas, but instead carries on throughout our lifetime.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, we must continue to learn and adapt to not be left behind.
This is as relevant to the military sector as it is to the private sector. The Military must do all it can to ensure it makes the most of emerging technology, to increase combat effectiveness. How the military makes best use of AI, where it chooses to automate and where not too, are important questions. Maybe there are some answers at Work Reimagined?