Did you watch the TV broadcast of the ‘Go match’ between Lee Se-dol, a Go player from South Korea and Alpago, an artificial intelligence (AI) Go program. They played a historic match series that was followed all around the world. Alphago won five matches with by a score of 4 to 1, illustrating big developments in AI because it was able to defeat a human with real intelligence. Although it was a remarkable advance in technology, some people worry that we are closer than ever to a day when AI will replace humans and their jobs. In reality, Davos Forum, a world economic forum, predicted that five million jobs will be disappeared by 2020 due to AI. However, some people take a different perspective of the developments. They said new jobs also appear thanks to AI and robots. The Dankook Herald (DKH) researched this topic and interviewed an expert about future job prospects.
AI refers to intelligence made by computer systems. These days, AI has greatly improved and is already in use in real life. Developed by Deep Learning, a branch of machine learning based on a set of algorithms, it helps machine learn data using statistics like humans. For example, Watson, which is an example of AI made by International Business Machine Corporation, has been commercialized for use in the health care and financial business industries. Siri from iPhone is also an example of AI, and is voice recognition software. It can search for information people want on the internet. In addition, it has photo magic, face recognition abilities, and a direction service via the internet with Siri.
|▲ Artificial Intelligence is already utilized in various ways. (Facebook)|
AI has been researched by many companies. Some corporations, including GE, BMW, and Google, are developing a new car with AI. If such a car is made, the number of accidents is expected to decrease and more people could easily drive cars. Amazingly, it is not all. An application has already been developed. It can figure out, if a member of the opposite sex is interested in you. It analyzes their level of affinity and then shows whether people like others or not. In other words, AI and robots can do many things, not only physical labor.
After the Go match, various movies regarding robots and AI were brought back into the spotlight. In the movies, there are a lot of highly developed robots that can communicate and peacefully co-exist with humans. They think and feel like humans and cars can move automatically and give people a ride wherever they wish to go. For example, in the movie ‘AI’, the famous film directed by Steven Spielberg, a couple whose real child was in a vegetative state adopted a robot child. The child robot steps into the breach, before the real child wakes up. As people pay attention to these ideas, the development of AI is expected to develop more like we see it in the movies.
However, not all people are happy about the changes. People are worried about human dignity and job reductions. Some of them are even sympathetic of Stephen Hawking’s opinion. He believes that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” In addition, as AI is improved, machines will be able to do more specific jobs instead of humans. Various experts and organizations believe that AI will eventually be able to replace humans in almost every job.
The DKH interviewed Hwang Gyu-hee, Senior Researcher at the Center for Human Resource Policies at the Korean Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training (KRIVET). He has studied future trends in employment and researched possible counteractive plans. He gave us his opinion on employment in the future.
He said there will be two big changes in the future job market. One is that new jobs will be created by the demand for mechanical labor and the other is that aging labor will be replaced with younger generations. With mechanical labor, new jobs will be created as some jobs will disappear. Also, new technology will force elderly people to adjust or retire and be replaced by a younger generation. Therefore, he believes, most people won’t have to worry too much about job losses.
The DKH asked what kinds of job he foresees and how many he believes will be created. He replied, “We cannot predict the particular jobs right now, but we can imagine them. From now on, it’s more important to exchange our emotions for more creative thinking. Nowadays, most labor intensive work has already been replaced by machines. For example, at factories, most labor is completed by machines and we even use them to record medical data in the hospital. They are more efficient than human labor, but you don't need to worry about them replacing human altogether. There is still a role for humans working alongside these machines. The importance of our roles will be highlighted."
The DKH asked what university students could do to better prepare for future jobs. He answered, "As I said, be more creative with your thinking and learn to use your best judgement depending on the circumstances in front of you. Don’t be too formulaic."
He added, “Various knowledge would also be helpful in building your future. As new jobs are created, demand for ordinary workers will diminish. To prevent being weeded out from the labor market, people have to avoid being like a machine.” He said human mechanization is the most dangerous phenomenon to future job prospects, yet it is common these days. People do not communicate with others, but rather talk just to get specific information from them. This makes people unable to sympathize, and seem more like a machine. Mechanized people can be easily replaced by a machine, so people need to behave like real humans in the future.
Raising awareness on the threat is more useful than gathering information about newly created jobs and future change, according to Mr. Hwang. This is because change is long-term and structural in the macroscopic. Being more human and developing more creative thinking can be helpful to guard against this looming future.
People worry about diminishing jobs caused by AI. However, new jobs will be created and people have to be ready to change, too. One thing is clear, now people and machines both need each other and with their co-existence inevitable, people can’t keep worrying about it, but rather prepare instead for the oncoming future. For instance, if some laws are established for co-existence, people may make the world much more efficient than in the past. Future depends on what people do today.
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