Will AI replace humans?

by | Oct 29, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey  Blog: Will AI Replace Humans

Elon Musk has given us nightmarish warnings about how AI could become “an immortal dictator from which we would never escape.”

And now we hear about GPT-3, created by OpenAI, a research business co-founded by Elon Musk. Since GPT-3 has been described as one of the most important and useful advances in AI in many years, does that mean we’re nearing the tipping point where Musk’s prediction will come to pass?

What is GPT-3?

GPT-3 stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 – the third generation of this tool.

It’s a “language prediction tool” whose algorithms can find answers to questions based on context, semantics and an incredible database of content: 570gb filtered data from CommonCrawl (45TB of compressed plaintext) derived from massive Internet datasets, including Wikipedia. Its power comes not only from its algorithms and database, but reportedly the largest neural network created to date.

When GPT-3 is confronted with a question or a request, it mulls likely answers, weighs the probabilities of the correctness of each one, and then delivers the output that it predicts will most likely be correct.

The context for GPT-3

GPT-3 is certainly a major step forward when it comes to the creation of content. When you read some of the answers it has offered, it can sound almost professorial. Even HAL-like.

The more complex the task, though, the less likely GPT-3 is to produce a cogent and on-point answer or content product. That’s not to say it won’t get better and better in subsequent versions, though.

Just in terms of capacity, the overall GPT language prediction model program still has quite a ways to go before it can match the human brain. GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters (i.e., synapses), while the human brain has between 100 and 1,000 trillion. But, again, given enough time, anything can and will be scaled.

Will AI replace humans?

That’s the million-dollar question for sure. And my short answer is “No.”

While AI will indeed displace tasks performed by some workers, forcing many jobs to be redefined, it won’t replace entire jobs. At the same time, it will give entrepreneurs an entirely new set of tools for creating countless new businesses with countless new jobs.

Regardless of scaling, there is a somewhat amorphous barrier that cannot be crossed.

Some would consider it a spiritual barrier – for example, a “soul” – that cannot be replicated in an AI construct. Others would say there’s a barrier between being “machine-smart” and the concepts of “wisdom,” “sense,” or “intuition” – things that cannot be captured or encompassed in bits and bytes.

I see this barrier to some extent in terms of consciousness and self-awareness. AI can mimic a human essence (some of GPT-3 essays certainly seem like the work of a clever, self-aware being) but that’s programmed consciousness, not true consciousness.

At this point, AI cannot:

  • Understand what it feels like to have sore muscles
  • Wake up in the middle of the night from a reoccurring nightmare
  • Smell the deliciousness of fresh baked bread
  • Feel the emotional pain of losing a loved one
  • Envision something that doesn’t exist
  • Taste the difference between two glasses of wine
  • Appreciate the subtleties of a Michelangelo painting
  • Comprehend the mental challenges associated with going on a diet

Another way of looking at this uncrossable barrier is the fact that humans are the original version. We created the tools that created AI. AI still has not been able to create a human being and therefore cannot replace a human being.

AI will, though, become much more human-like over time. In some scenarios, it will disagree with us, chide us, nag us, joke with us, and come across as the annoying smarter “friend” in the room. We’ll may just have to live with it, and perhaps even embrace it, as an extension of ourselves.

Futurist Speaker Thomas Frey  Blog: What is GPT-3 and How does it Work

The Place for AI

By its nature, AI decisions cannot be influenced by emotion. Many would say that’s an asset, and in a lot of use-cases it is, such as reading an MRI or forecasting economic conditions. But when it comes to other decisions or tasks, emotion and even morality certainly will be a crucial element in our decision-making process.

To Elon’s point at the top of this piece, AI certainly has the potential to become an unwelcome “dictator” in our lives, but only if we let it circumvent normal fail-safe measures, and rely on it excessively in areas where human sensibilities should also weigh in.

AI will continue to take on new, and increasingly complex tasks for us. GPT-3 was a major leap in that direction, into some realms we thought could only be handled well by humans.

As such, it may be a threat to the livelihoods of mathematicians, translators, and copywriters, but talented people will always have a way of redefining their role!

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Will AI replace humans?

by | Oct 29, 2020 | Artificial Intelligence

I was thoroughly intrigued when I found out the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado was offering a degree in asteroid mining.

Yes, the idea of extracting water, oxygen, minerals, and metals from an asteroid sounds like science fiction to most people, but it’s not that far away.  In fact, Colorado School of Mines’ newly launched “Space Resources” program will help people get in on the ground floor.

After thinking about the proactive nature of this approach, it became abundantly clear how backward thinking most colleges have become.

When colleges decide on a new degree program, they must first recruit instructors, create a new curriculum, and attract students. As a result, the talent churned out of these newly minted programs is the product of a 6-7 year pipeline.

For this reason, anticipatory-thinking institutions really need to be setting their sights on what business and industries will need 7-10 years from now.

The Risk-Averse Nature of Education

When Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen released his best-selling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, his core message that disruptive change is the path to success, was only partially embraced by higher education.

While many were experimenting with MOOCs and smart whiteboards, changes in the subject matter of their courses still evolved at the traditional pace of discovery.

This is not to say colleges are not innovative. Rather, the demands of today’s emerging tech environment are forcing business and industries to shift into an entirely new gear. And that most definitely includes our academic institutions.

From a management perspective, it’s far easier to oversee a contained system where all variables are constrained. But during times of change, we tend to give far more power to the “unleashers,” who are determined to test the status quo and release ideas and trial balloons to see what works.

For this reason, managers and creatives often find themselves on opposing sides, and the winners of these warring factions often determine what we as consumers see as the resulting ripples of change.

Offering Pilot Programs

When Facebook bought Oculus Rift in March 2014 for $2 billion, the job boards went crazy, as there was an instant uptick in the demand for VR designers, engineers, and experience creators. But no one was teaching VR, and certainly not the Oculus Rift version of it.

Colleges have a long history of being blindsided by new technologies:

  • When eBay launched, no one was teaching ecommerce strategies
  • When Myspace launched, no one was teaching social networking
  • When Google launched, no one was teaching online search engine strategies
  • When Uber launched, no one was teaching sharing economy business models
  • When Apple first opened their App Store, no one was teaching smart phone app design
  • When Amazon first allowed online storefronts, no one was teaching the Amazon business model
  • When YouTube first offered ways to monetize videos, no one was teaching it

Since most academic institutions are only willing to put their name on programs with long-term viability, the endorsement of half-baked agendas does not come easy. However, that is exactly what needs to be done.

Colleges can no longer afford to remain comfortably behind the curve.

52 Future College Degrees

As a way of priming your thinking on this matter, here are 52 future degrees that forward-thinking colleges could start offering today:

  1. Space Exploration – space tourism planning and management
  2. Space Exploration – planetary colony design and operation
  3.  Space Exploration – next generation space infrastructure
  4. Space Exploration – advanced cosmology and non-earth human habitats
  5. Bioengineering with CRISPR – policy and procedural strategies
  6. Bioengineering with CRISPR – advanced genetic engineering systems
  7. Bioengineering with CRISPR – operational implementations and system engineering
  8. Bioengineering with CRISPR – ethical regulation and oversight
  9. Smart City – autonomous traffic integration
  10. Smart City – mixed reality modeling
  11. Smart City – autonomous construction integration
  12. Smart City – next generation municipal planning and strategy
  13. Autonomous Agriculture – robotic systems
  14. Autonomous Agriculture – drone systems
  15. Autonomous Agriculture – supply chain management
  16. Autonomous Agriculture – systems theory and integration
  17. Swarmbot – design, theory, and management
  18. Swarmbot – system engineering and oversight
  19. Swarmbot – municipal system design
  20. Swarmbot – law enforcement and advanced criminology systems
  21. Cryptocurrency – digital coin economics
  22. Cryptocurrency – crypto-banking system design
  23. Cryptocurrency – regulatory systems and oversight
  24. Cryptocurrency – forensic accounting strategies
  25. Blockchain – design, systems, and applications
  26. Blockchain – blockchain for biological systems
  27. Blockchain – large-scale integration structures
  28. Blockchain – municipal system design strategies
  29. Global Systems – system planning, architecture, and design
  30. Global Systems – large-scale integration strategies
  31. Global Systems – operational systems checks and balance
  32. Global Systems – governmental systems in a borderless digital world
  33. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - drone film making
  34. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – command center operations
  35. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – municipal modeling and planning systems
  36. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – emergency response systems
  37. Mixed Reality - experiential retail
  38. Mixed Reality – three-dimensional storytelling
  39. Mixed Reality – game design
  40. Mixed Reality – therapeutic systems and design
  41. Advanced Reproductive Systems – designer baby strategies, planning, and ethics
  42. Advanced Reproductive Systems – surrogate parenting policy and approaches
  43. Advanced Reproductive Systems – organic nano structures
  44. Advanced Reproductive Systems – clone engineering and advanced processes
  45. Artificial Intelligence – data management in an AI environment
  46. Artificial Intelligence – advanced human-AI integration
  47. Artificial Intelligence – streaming AI data services
  48. Artificial Intelligence – advanced marketing with AI
  49. Quantum Computing – data strategies in a quantum-connected world
  50. Quantum Computing – quantum-level encryption and security
  51. Quantum Computing – quantum computing implementation strategies
  52. Quantum Computing – AI-quantum system integration

Final Thought

More so than any time in history, we have a clear view of next generation technologies. Naturally, we’re still a long way from 100% clarity, but for most of the technologies listed above, the shifting tectonic plates of change can be felt around the world.

Without taking decisive action, colleges run the risk of being circumvented by new types of training systems that can meet market demands in a fraction of the time it takes traditional academia to react.

The ideas I’ve listed are a tiny fraction of what’s possible when it comes to emerging tech degrees. Should colleges stick their neck out like Colorado School of Mines and offer degrees that may not be immediately useful? Adding to that question, how many college degrees are immediately useful today?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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