AI going to replace 50% of human jobs according to a new CNBC article quoting Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures and former head of Google China. Peter Norvig, current Director of AI at Google has also commented on his concerns around AI decimating the job market recently. I think about these topics often as I am the founder of HiringSolved, an AI based software company which makes recruiting more efficient. So, when will AI come to take your job away and what can you do about it?
Don’t panic! This is our destiny. Building Artificial Intelligence to take away our jobs is a very natural part of the evolution of the human race. Humans are unique because we can create and use tools. The tools we create enable us to work more efficiently, which means that it requires less people to do the job with tools than it did without them. Therefore, the technology we create does some of the work for us, eventually replacing us and taking our jobs.
This isn’t a new thing. Consider the humble wheelbarrow, a 2000 year old technology which enables 1 person to carry the same amount of weight as 10 people. In making the task of carrying things easier and more efficient, the wheelbarrow is an example of technology taking away jobs. For a more recent example, take a look at the computer itself. Most people don’t know that the word “computer” was actually a job title before it was a type of machine. The word “computer” used to be the title of a human worker who made calculations manually. Machines took that job from us so quickly that most people don’t even realize that we used to be the computers. However, I would argue that nobody wants to give up their spam filter or start doing long division by hand and give up Excel.
OK, we have established that we as a species are special because we make technology, that it eventually takes our jobs and that this has been happening for a very long time. Even the AI programmers themselves are not safe. DARPA, the good people who brought us the Internet are working to automate some of what ML/AI engineers do. So, when will technology take your job? Let’s break this question down into a few hypothetical scenarios:
About The Author
Shon Burton is the founder and CEO of HiringSolved, which builds AI based recruiting software like RAI. Mr. Burton is also the co-founder of MLconf, a leading independent conference on Machine Learning and The Artificial Intelligence Conference which is hosting an AI Startup Competition with Spark Capital for new companies applying AI in new products. If AI does take all of our jobs it will be partially his fault. As a concession, Shon would like to offer the reader a 20% discount code to The AI Conference in June in San Francisco.