What Will the Future Hold?
‘In 25 to 40 years robots will outnumber humans’, says Logan Streondj, a science fiction writer and a software programmer. The question that follows is will humans and robots co-exist peacefully? What happens when technology advances to the point where machine intelligence can perform all human labor? Well, at first all this might sound rather dystopian but the implications are frightening for some people and not unfeasible. Robots will probably take over jobs such as data research, sales and transportation. Streondj warns that in 2040, human and robots will be involved in a brutal conflict, since by that time the number of humans and robots being produced per year will be the same.
The Rise of Human-level Intelligence
The world is undergoing transformation that is just as dramatic as it was in the industrial revolution. There are robots that do tedious manual labor, as well as the creation of machines that can think just like humans or beyond the capabilities of humans. Looking at the advancements made in the past few years, makes it hard not to be excited about how much more can be done. We might look at the world around us and think that advancements to where robots are driving cars is so far into the future it doesn’t concern us, but think again. Twenty years ago we didn’t have the internet or mobile phones or even email, but for people under the age of 18, life without these inventions is impossible to imagine.
What Jobs Will Go First
At the moment, there is less clarity about the safety of jobs that traditionally require intelligence and education. It’s expected that machines such as IBM’s Watson Systems might, in the near future, be able to take over work done by lawyers, teachers and doctors, due to their ability to solve problems much faster than humans. As a matter of fact, the first jobs to go might just be these kind of intellectual jobs. It’s quite ironic that the tasks that require a higher level of intelligence to do are proving to be the ones machines will be able to do, compared to the relatively basic jobs such as making a burger or cleaning a house, which will be more difficult to computerize.
On the Battlefield
Make no mistake of ruling out how creative robots are since today, cutting edge robots can paint, compose music or even write stories. I wouldn’t say that we are at a point where robots can confidently compete with humans in these areas but we can categorically state that we are not far from it. Microsoft has created robotic security guards that are used in security maintenance on one of its campuses. It is expected that robot soldiers will soon be developed that will be much more efficient on the battlefield than humans.
Robot Intelligence and Human Employment
It is true that there is mass unemployment already and seven billion people on the earth. Why do we need to create more unemployment by inventing robots that can do work that humans have historically done? What will this do to the work force? Looking back at the inception of the industrial revolution in the mid-1700s, everybody was panicking about the machine and how it would take over their jobs. This is not exactly what happened since machines just came in to do jobs much faster and more cheaply and people were able to work in other fields, which really boosted production levels and economies as a whole. In the same way, in the 21st century, computerization of jobs might create unemployment in the immediate sense, but it will also create jobs as the human world evolves into something we can’t even imagine yet. Robots will always need to be repaired. Though it’s possible, I suppose, that a robot could be repaired by another robot, it’s hard to imagine that humans won’t be involved in the process at some point.
The Implications of No-Human-Required
In 2016 the gap between the haves and the have nots is greater than at any point in history, yet in western countries, at least, the have nots, have a much higher standard of living than the have nots in the same country 200 years ago. The gap between the have nots in poor countries and the have nots in rich countries, however, is so marked that something has to be done. Only through the computerization of the world, can we start to think about improving the standard of living of the have nots in poorer countries.