IBM will build quantum computers “millions of times faster than anything before.” Classic cryptography will become inadequate to protect information against these devices.
Venture capitalists point out that robots are taking over the jobs we’d rather they leave alone. Artificial intelligences are making useful progress at creating original art, music, and prose, the sort of tasks we’d hoped they would free us up to be able to do ourselves. Meanwhile, the jobs we want them to do are proving “shockingly hard to automate”:
The cleaning robot Roomba was one of the first commercially available robots to everyday consumers in 2002. Almost 15 years later, there has not been any real innovation in terms of cleaning robots that has seen commercial success.
Textile manufacturing, one of the first industries to be automated, remains incredibly hard to automate completely. Robots work best when manipulating solid objects, but textiles shear, stretch, and compress, making them difficult for robots to handle.
Automating the harvesting of crops that are today picked by hand has so far been hard because many of these crops can be damaged easily and computers have had trouble with visual recognition of the fruit or produce they are trying to pick.
Another speaker talking of a cusp is Maurice Conti, in this TEDx talk about the incredible advances of AI in making intuitive leaps. Bonus points for Star Trek analogy 🙂 Is AI about to progress from Spock to Kirk? Watch this video and see designs that could never have been achieved by humans alone.
My article in the November 2016 issue of Coaching World brought an email from Pierre Dussault, who has been writing about many of the same issues that I covered in Crisis of Control. His thoughtful manifesto is a call to the International Coaching Federation to extend the reach and capabilities of the profession of coaching so that the impact of coaching on individual consciousness can make a global impact. I would urge you to read it here.
See this article about the effects of automation on manufacturing. What is the future of manufacturing jobs when robots cost a third of a human?
Boston Consulting Group reports that it costs barely $8 an hour to use a robot for spot welding in the auto industry, compared to $25 for a worker—and the gap is only going to widen. More generally, the “job intensity” of America’s manufacturing industries—and especially its best-paying advanced ones—is only going to decline. In 1980 it took 25 jobs to generate $1 million in manufacturing output in the U.S. Today it takes five jobs.
The first book in the Human Cusp series has just been published: Crisis of Control: How Artificial Superintelligences May Destroy or Save the Human Race. Paperback will be available within two weeks.
Many thanks to my reviewers, friends, and especially my publisher, Jim Gifford, who has made this so beautiful. As a vehicle for delivering my message, I could not have asked him for more.
This infographic on how AI is transforming e-Commerce covers considerable ground and is easy to understand.
The Guardian exposes some contradictory thinking on the progress of job automation:
Many of us recognize robotic automation as an inevitably disruptive force. However, in a classic example of optimism bias, while approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that robots will inevitably perform most of the work currently done by human beings during the next 50 years, about 80% also believe their current jobs will either “definitely” or “probably” exist in their current form within the same timeframe.
Somehow, we believe our livelihoods will be safe. They’re not: every commercial sector will be affected by robotic automation in the next several years.
Preceded by Barack Obama’s commentary on the employment impact, here is a video of a test run by an autonomous 18-wheeler. In the view from the cab, the reporter needles the human truck driver who got it started:
So you’ve been replaced by three LIDARs, a CPS, a camera, and a radar?
The driver managed a tight grin, nuance that the truck is currently incapable of.
Wired Magazine’s November issue is guest edited by President Obama, and in an interview, he touches on so many issues raised in Crisis of Control that I could egotistically convince myself that someone sent him an advance copy.
He talks about the danger of AI, the potential for widespread unemployment, but also its promise. He points out that we have more to fear – in terms of immediate danger to national security – from AIs being focused on single tasks like penetrating nuclear security than we do a general takeover. He talks about bioterrorism. He even mentions the Singularity and gets into Star Trek.
But what it really means is that we’re heading into an era where more and more people are waking up to these issues. I have my part to play, Obama has another, and so do you.