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A Quarter Of U.S. Jobs To Be Affected By Advancement Of A.I.

In the future, the class of workers affected by automation could grow as machines become more intelligent.

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A worker lifts a lunch bowl off the production line at Spyce, a restaurant which uses a robotic cooking process, in Boston, Massachusetts, May 3, 2018. VOA

Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report.

The report, published Thursday, says roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation — meaning at least 70 percent of their tasks could soon be performed by machines using current technology. Among those most likely to be affected are cooks, waiters and others in food services; short-haul truck drivers; and clerical office workers.

“That population is going to need to upskill, reskill or change jobs fast,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at Brookings and lead author of the report.

Muro said the timeline for the changes could be “a few years or it could be two decades.” But it’s likely that automation will happen more swiftly during the next economic downturn. Businesses are typically eager to implement cost-cutting technology as they lay off workers.

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This photo illustration shows a man watching an artificial intelligence (AI) news anchor from a state-controlled news broadcaster, on his computer in Beijing, VOA

Some economic studies have found similar shifts toward automating production happened in the early part of previous recessions — and may have contributed to the “jobless recovery” that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

But with new advances in artificial intelligence, it’s not just industrial and warehouse robots that will alter the American workforce. Self-checkout kiosks and computerized hotel concierges will do their part.

Most jobs will change somewhat as machines take over routine tasks, but a majority of U.S. workers will be able to adapt to that shift without being displaced.

The changes will hit hardest in smaller cities, especially those in the heartland and Rust Belt and in states like Indiana and Kentucky, according to the report by the Washington think tank. They will also disproportionately affect the younger workers who dominate food services and other industries at highest risk for automation.

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Pods full of merchandise are moved around the floor by robotic drives, named Amazon robots, at the Amazon fulfillment center in the Staten Island borough of New York, Dec. 5, 2018. VOA

Some chain restaurants have already shifted to self-ordering machines; a handful have experimented with robot-assisted kitchens.

Google this year is piloting the use of its digital voice assistant at hotel lobbies to instantly interpret conversations across a few dozen languages. Autonomous vehicles could replace short-haul delivery drivers. Walmart and other retailers are preparing to open cashier-less stores powered by in-store sensors or cameras with facial recognition technology.

“Restaurants will be able to get along with significantly reduced workforces,” Muro said. “In the hotel industry, instead of five people manning a desk to greet people, there’s one and people basically serve themselves.”

Many economists find that automation has an overall positive effect on the labor market, said Matias Cortes, an assistant professor at York University in Toronto who was not involved with the Brookings report. It can create economic growth, reduce prices and increase demand while also creating new jobs that make up for those that disappear.

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Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

But Cortes said there’s no doubt there are “clear winners and losers.” In the recent past, those hardest hit were men with low levels of education who dominated manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs, and women with intermediate levels of education who dominated clerical and administrative positions.

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In the future, the class of workers affected by automation could grow as machines become more intelligent. The Brookings report analyzed each occupation’s automation potential based on research by the McKinsey management consulting firm. Those jobs that remain largely unscathed will be those requiring not just advanced education, but also interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.

“These high-paying jobs require a lot of creativity and problem-solving,” Cortes said. “That’s going to be difficult for new technologies to replace.” (VOA)

 

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Researchers Develop AI Algorithm That Can Diagnose Skin Diseases

The researchers caution that AI cannot definitively interpret images, that it is not trained to interpret even when the problem presented is straightforward

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Recently, there have been remarkable advances in the use of AI in medicine. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a deep learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can accurately classify cutaneous skin disorders, predict malignancy, suggest primary treatment options, and serve as an ancillary tool to enhance the diagnostic accuracy of clinicians. With the assistance of this system, the diagnostic accuracy of dermatologists, as well as the general public, was significantly improved, said the study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Skin diseases are common, but it is not always easy to visit a dermatologist quickly or distinguish malignant from benign conditions. “Recently, there have been remarkable advances in the use of AI in medicine. For specific problems, such as distinguishing between melanoma and nevi, AI has shown results comparable to those of human dermatologists,” said lead investigator Jung-Im Na from Seoul National University in South Korea. Most prior studies have been limited to specific binary tasks, such as differentiating melanoma from nevi.

“Our results suggest that our algorithm may serve as an Augmented Intelligence that can empower medical professionals in diagnostic dermatology,” Na added.

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Using a “convolutional neural network,” a specialised AI algorithm, the research team developed an AI system capable of predicting malignancy, suggesting treatment options, and classifying skin disorders. They collected 220,000 images of Asians and Caucasians with 174 skin diseases and trained neural networks to interpret those images.

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Researchers have developed a deep learning-based artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that can accurately classify cutaneous skin disorders. Pixabay

They found that the algorithm could diagnose 134 skin disorders and suggest primary treatment options, render multi-class classification among disorders, and enhance the performance of medical professionals through Augmented Intelligence.”Rather than AI replacing humans, we expect AI to support humans as Augmented Intelligence to reach diagnoses faster and more accurately,” Na said.

The researchers caution that AI cannot definitively interpret images, that it is not trained to interpret even when the problem presented is straightforward. For example, an algorithm trained only to differentiate between melanoma and nevi cannot differentiate between an image of a nail hematoma and either a melanoma or a nevus. If the shape of the hematoma is irregular, the algorithm may diagnose it as melanoma.

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They also pointed out that the algorithm was trained and tested using high-quality images and its performance is generally suboptimal if the input images are of low quality. “We anticipate that the use of our algorithm with a smartphone could encourage the public to visit specialists for cancerous lesions such as melanoma that might have been neglected otherwise, however, there are issues with the quality or composition of photographs taken by the general public that may affect the results of the algorithm, Na said. (IANS)