AI Will Not Replace Jobs, but It Will Transform Them: Facebook AI Chief

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Almost anyone who is in the field of technology is asking the same question: Will AI eventually replace humans?

Industry leaders in AI research from Google, Microsoft, and Facebook recently held an AMA on Reddit about “The Future (and Present) of Artificial Intelligence”, where they cleared the air on some controversial subjects on the future of humanity.

During the AMA, Yann LeCun, Facebook’s Director of AI Research; Eric Horvitz, Director Microsoft Research, and Peter Norvig, Research Director at Google, answered user submitted questions about various topics, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the future of the technology.

Answering a question about the risk of AI replacing careers in the near future, LeCun said:

“It will be a very long time before we have robotic plumbers, carpenters, handypersons, hairdressers, etc. In general, AI will not replace jobs, but it will transform them. Ultimately, every job is going to be made more efficient by AI. But jobs that require human creativity, interaction, emotional intelligence, are not going to go away for a long time. Science, engineering, art, craft making and other creative jobs are here to stay.”

The prospect of artificial intelligence replacing humans in a number of occupations has been a point of concern for many. Back in July last year, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari announced that India will not allow driverless cars to ply on its roads. “How can we allow such vehicles when we already have huge number of unemployed people?”, he said.

Elaborating on the same lines, Norvig said:

“A lot of people today drive trucks. At some point, much of the long-distance driving will be automated. I think there will still be a person in the cab, but their job will be more focused on loading/unloading and customer relations/salesmanship than on driving. If they can (eventually) sleep in the cab while the cab is moving and/or if we can platoon larger truck fleets, then you might think we need fewer total drivers, but if the cost of trucking goes down relative to rail or sea, then there might be more demand. So it is hard to predict where things will end up decades from now, and the best advice is to stay flexible and be ready to learn new things, whether that is shifting tasks within a job, or changing jobs.”

As of now, it’s too early to say how artificial intelligence will affect the careers of people in the future, but it would be best if governments and administrations worldwide keep an open mind and embrace the change as it comes. What is your opinion on the matter? Do you think AI is a threat to jobs or do you think it’ll somehow be beneficiary for all? Let us know in the comments section below.

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