There is no denying that artificial intelligence (AI) is already impacting greatly on our modern world, but the rate at which AI is so swiftly evolving will mean the technology will affect just about every industry you can think of, as well as how humans will interact with their world.
AI is now the main driver behind most new emerging technologies, especially in the fields of robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, industry experts predict that AI technologies will underpin most new innovations as we move into the future.
AI’s impact is already everywhere
Over the past few years, we have seen AI’s influence in virtually all major industry models. Many of the leading companies across the world already employ a system of machine learning for tasks such as data collection and analysis.
Investments into integrated software that centres around IoT connectivity have already helped businesses to deliver data results quicker with far greater detail than was previously possible with more traditional methods of data gathering.
Even if you don’t work in a data-driven company, such as Google, for example, AI’s impact in other business sectors is already making in-roads. Over the next decade, we are expecting to see great advancements in autonomous self-drive cars and delivery lorries.
The manufacturing industry has already undergone a huge overhaul thanks to the integration of technology such as AI-powered robots on assembly lines and automated warehouse infrastructure.
At the moment AI technology works hand-in-hand with humans to complete a limited range of physical tasks, but we are already seeing the first signs of fully-automated (human-free) warehouses in development with a working prototype coming from a start-up team from Tokyo University.
AI’s impact on society
From a human perspective, the main thing that worries the general population of any developed country is how AI will impact on their jobs and livelihoods.
It can be a stark realisation to admit that no matter how exciting the world of AI technological advancement is, the bottom 50% of workers in terms of income and education will be the most negatively impacted through AI disruption with job displacement.
What most people know is that the more routine your job, the more likely that your job can be replaced by an AI alternative. This is because, with machine learning technology, AI can learn to optimise most repetitive and routine tasks, such as stacking, sorting and packing.
It is expected that most jobs of this nature will be displaced by AI technology over the next five to fifteen years.
Amazon has already dipped its toe into the world of checkout-free shopping with it’s Amazon Go store, piloted in 2018 in Seattle. Set to disrupt the traditional bricks-and-mortar style of high street shopping, the grocery store uses a set up of cameras and sensors to track what goods are being removed from the shelves by shoppers.
Those friendly check-out operators that offer you a smile and a chat as they scan your shopping are a thing of the past and are now deemed superfluous in this store.
Customers simply scan their Amazon Go smartphone app as they enter the store and their credit card will be automatically billed for their shopping after leaving the store.
The positive side of AI for humanity
While it seems the advancement of AI technology is inevitable and there is little objectors can do about it, there are lots of positives to be drawn from it.
AI technology will see the end to boring and repetitive jobs that are not very fulfilling and most people perform begrudgingly just to pay their bills. It is thought that being freed from these types of jobs will actually be good for people’s mental health as that job freedom will mean they can retrain and re-educate themselves for a more fulfilling role in a different sector.
People are very creative and emotional beings at the end of the day – traits that current AI technology lacks. By learning new skills to empower themselves in other roles that will still need a ‘human-touch’ such as nursing, caring, mental health support, as well as within the music and arts industry, people can lead more enjoyable and fulfilling lives.
For those wanting to work in technology, people will need to learn to code and to learn about programming languages. It is thought that these skills will be just as important for our children, if not more so, at school as maths, English and the sciences.
How you choose to look forward to the future of AI is up to you, but if implemented properly, AI will benefit society as a whole. Instead of defining yourself by your job, people will be free to pursue more creative roles.
It is most likely that the introduction of a universal basic income (UBI) will be necessary for the general population once the majority of jobs are taken over by AI. This should be seen as us being given the keys to freedom.