Erin Eilers – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – As the years fly by and technological advances tickle fingertips with excitement, there is more than just virtual reality and Google glasses for Mustangs to ponder.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining traction as the mainstream media is obsessed with sharing the very first robot “citizen” of Saudi Arabia, Sophia. While Sophia might be a guiding stone in the path to the future, many others are sharing concerns over the possibility of AI taking over the job force.

The future most people are thinking of is indeed not very far away.

Robots are not going to be taking over the neighborhood, but there are many professions in jeopardy that are close to being ready to be transformed into computer operated jobs.

According to a bar graph in “The Economist,” titled “Catalogue of Fears,” the probability of computerization of different occupations is much higher for certain occupations than others.

These are the statistics from the least probable to the highest found on the “Catalogue of Fears,” with “1” being certain of total takeover by computers.

  • Recreational Therapist: 0.0O3%
  • Dentists: 0.004%
  • Athletic Trainers 0.007%
  • Clergy: 0.008%
  • Chemical Engineers: 0.02%
  • Editors: 0.06%
  • Firefighters: 0.17%
  • Actors: 0.37%
  • Health Technologists: 0.40%
  • Economists: 0.43%
  • Commerical Pilots: 0.55%
  • Machinists: 0.65%
  • World Processors and Typists: 0.81%
  • Real-Estate Sales Agent: 0.86%
  • Technical Writers: 0.89%
  • Retail Sales People: 0.92%
  • Accountants and Auditors: 0.94%
  • Telemarketers: 0.99%

In addition to AI taking over potential jobs for humans, jobs in the specific field for AI will be created as well, such as self-driving cars which may need remote drivers in case of an emergency. Corporate AI and customer service will have to be programed with a dialogue and be continuously maintained and updated to stay up to date.

LRHS technology teacher  Bryan Richards believes students need to prepare for this possible outcome.

“Essentially everything must be programmed and built, so humans will still have jobs to do,” he said.  “However, AI will put a lot of people out of work, especially in machinist type fields.

“All AI needs to be coded and manufactured,” he continued, “because of this coding will be the most important skill.”

“The Economist” said, “Focusing only on what is lost misses a central economic mechanism by which automation affects the demand for labor, it raises the value of the tasks that can be done only by humans. Ultimately, those worried that automation will cause mass unemployment are succumbing to what economists call the “lump of labor” fallacy.”

“The Economist” added, “This notion that there’s only a finite amount of work to do, and therefore that if you automate some of it there’s less for people to do, is just totally wrong.”

The question arises, couldn’t this time be different? “The Economist” brings up the point that the impact of automation this time around is much broader based the prior years when automation took force. Not every industry was affected two centuries ago, but every industry uses computers today.

During previous waves of automation, workers could switch from one kind of routine work to another, but this time many workers will have to switch from routine, unskilled jobs to non-routine, skilled jobs to stay ahead of automation.

“The Economist” included, “That makes it more important than ever to help workers acquire new skills quickly. But so far, there is ‘zero evidence’ that AI is having a new and significantly different impact on employment.”

The employment future may lie in between the pessimist and the optimistic. AI is not projected to cause mass unemployment, but it will speed up the existing trend of computer-related automation, which in turn will disrupt labor markets just as technological change has done before, and it will require workers to learn new skills more quickly than in the past.

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