The Doppler Quarterly Summer 2017 - Page 61

The World Economic Forum expects automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to result in the loss of at least 5 million jobs globally by 2020. The data centers are monitored consistently by auto- mated and intelligent engines. Only once or twice a month do actual humans enter the data center to replace failed servers and other equipment. Older data centers that are more manual in terms of leveraging humans are considered cost inefficient, and are being replaced by increasingly automated data centers, which typically leverage AI and other technologies. Point the Compass in a New Direction So, what’s a human to do in a world that’s becoming more populated with robots, and even robots that can do your job? It’s a matter of pivoting to other career directions. Don’t worry, we’ve done this many times before throughout history. Consider the arrival of the internal combustion engine, and the ability to move quickly across the land without the aid of horses. Those who served the horse and car- riage industry, including those who made carriages and buggy whips, had to retool and find other ways to stay relevant. Those who worked for those industries had to figure out new career paths. We have gone through many iterations of this shift in the last hundred years, including the rise of comput- ers, the rise of instant communications, the rise of online stores... and the list goes on. These days, it’s a matter of looking at what parts of the job market will grow, or are growing. Figure 1 shows that the number of job postings is increasing in the machine learning space, which is not surprising. However, these are likely to be taken by those already on a computer career track, and thus not helpful to displaced truck drivers. However, it is a good option for those who are out of data center jobs or other areas of high technology that are affected by the growth of automation and AI. The dilemma is that AI, and automation in general, will take on much of the heavy lifting that’s currently done by humans. This shift should make things safer and cost less, when you consider the impact on most lives. However, it will also take more jobs than it cre- ates, and those who have been replaced by AI-based automation and robotics won’t have the same options as those in the high tech industries, who already have to reinvent themselves about every 10 years to survive. Transitioning to an AI World In a recent interview with Quartz, Bill Gates said that a robot tax may be the way to go to allow for a better transition to automation and AI-based job killing technology. “These taxes could finance jobs taking care of elderly people or working with kids in schools, for which needs are unmet and to which humans are particularly well suited.” Gates argues that governments must oversee such programs rather than rely upon businesses to do so, since they are profit motivated. Government can redirect the jobs to help people with lower incomes, or the displaced blue-collar workers discussed above. Indeed, EU lawmakers considered a proposal to tax robot owners to pay for training workers who lose their jobs. However, in February of this year, legisla- tors ultimately rejected it. There are no easy answers here. These are old prob- lems in a modern setting, in terms of job killing auto- mation. But the new AI technology evolution could be distinctly different from prior evolutions. Why? AI is smarter than we are. SUMMER 2017 | THE DOPPLER | 59