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Satya Nadella: Robots Won’t Make People Jobless

The Microsoft tool has the potential to help businesses make use of AI without inadvertently discriminating against certain groups of people

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Microsoft
Microsoft doesn't use customers' data for profit: Satya Nadella. (Wikimedia Commons)

Even in a “runaway Artificial Intelligence (AI)” scenario, robots will not render people completely jobless, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told The Sunday Telegraph in an interview.

People will always want a job as it gives them “dignity”, Nadella said, adding that the focus should instead be on applying AI technology ethically.

“What I think needs to be done in 2018 is more dialogue around the ethics, the principles that we can use for the engineers and companies that are building AI, so that the choices we make don’t cause us to create systems with bias … that’s the tangible thing we should be working on,” he was quoted as saying.

According to a report in MIT Technology Review on May 25, Microsoft is building a tool to automate the identification of bias in a range of different AI algorithms.

Robots won't render people jobless
Robots won’t render people jobless. Pixabay

The Microsoft tool has the potential to help businesses make use of AI without inadvertently discriminating against certain groups of people.

Although Microsoft’s new tool may not eliminate the problem of bias that may creep into Machine-Learning models altogether, it will help AI researchers catch more instances of unfairness, Rich Caruna, a senior researcher at Microsoft who is working on the bias-detection dashboard, was quoted as saying by MIT Technology Review.

“Of course, we can’t expect perfection — there’s always going to be some bias undetected or that can’t be eliminated — the goal is to do as well as we can,” he said.

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In the interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Nadella also said that as Microsoft’s business model was based on customers paying for services, he believed the company was on “the right side of history”.

“Our business model is based on our customers being successful, and if they are successful they will pay us. So we are not one of these transaction-driven or ad-driven or marketplace-driven economies,” the Microsoft chief was quoted as saying. (IANS)

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While Robots Steal Blue-Collar Jobs, White-Collar Workers are Being Replaced By AI

Robots Stole Blue Collar Jobs, Now AI Is Coming for White Collar Workers

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Robots
Robots are set to take over the blue-collar jobs of less-educated Americans. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Robots might be taking over the blue-collar jobs of less-educated Americans, but artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to shake up college-educated employees in higher paying jobs, leaving no worker immune to the impact of technology on the American workforce.

“[AI] will be used more extensively by the most high-paid and many of the best-educated workers,” says Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. “Automation has usually tended to affect lower-pay workers. AI is going to be highly prevalent in the middle class, white collar office. It was surprising to see how clearly that jumped out.”

AI is generally regarded as programming computers to do things that normally require human intelligence — tasks such as planning, learning, reasoning, and problem-solving. Muro and his colleagues analyzed which jobs will be most highly affected by artificial intelligence going forward. What they learned is that virtually every occupation will feel AI’s effects.

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Here is an average standardized AI exposure graph. VOA

But whether AI will displace more highly skilled workers in the same way robots have replaced lower-skilled workers is hard to predict. AI might create entirely new jobs and occupations for humans.

“We can’t really say at this point whether [AI] will lead to the destruction of work or the support of work. Both things could happen,” Muro says. “It may not mean anything disturbing. It may mean that those workers will have access to very powerful new technologies. But it may mean there will be a lot more flux in those higher paid occupations.”

Jobs performed by people with a 4-year college degree, which were once largely immune from automation, could be the hardest hit. These include market research analysts, sales managers, programmers, management analysts, and engineers. Positions that are “heavily involved in pattern-oriented or predictive work” are expected to be “especially susceptible to the data-driven inroads of AI,” according to the analysis.

“Everyone is going to be affected in some way by automation,” Muro says. “So I think this opens up the possibility of all groups in the society needing to recognize that they’re in this together… automation is going to be an important factor in the next 20 years, so we’d better work together to come up with better solutions or responses.”

Muro’s analysis finds that workers in manufacturing, often less educated workers, will also be impacted by AI, but to a lesser extent than the more highly educated.

Robots are used to scan shelves to help provide associates with real-time inventory data at a Walmart Supercenter in Houston. Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of U.S. jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of today’s work, according to a new Brookings Institution report. VOA

Of course, this is not the first time American workers have been impacted or potentially impacted by technology.

“There have been technologies that have been implemented that didn’t lead to the wide-scale job losses,” says William M. Rodgers III, professor of public policy and chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, “but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to have a public policy response.”

Rodgers co-authored a report on how robots are affecting workers and their wages.

“We do have to ensure that we have safety nets or approaches that can help cushion the blow for people who do get displaced by technology,” Rodgers says.

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The challenge, as Muro sees it, is to determine how humans can add value.

“What are the human traits that are resilient and will be durable in the face of new technologies,” Muro says, “and then how do we help people retrain, seek new work that they need to adjust to or, if their careers break down from this, how do we provide better social safety net?” (VOA)