The Threat of Artificial Intelligence

What is the Internet of Things? I have been trying to answer this question for almost a year, as it is a term that is thrown around excessively in my media degree. At its most basic level, I understand that the Internet of Things relates to any tangible device with the ability to connect to the Internet, however the term refers to much more than this.

‘The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction’ (Rouse, 2014). It is the idea of taking the person out of the connection sequence that intrigues me most. Can technology, and advances in technology replace human intelligence?

The knowledge that technology and machines run off is often referred to as Artificial Intelligence (A.I). Primarily, Artificial Intelligence is the set rules in programme coding, which instructs and enables a software or hardware, to identify and sequence or pattern through detection, and then to respond according to a pre-programmed prescribed action (Shah, 2014). Artificial Intelligence aims to make machines think like humans, but with the complexity of the human brain, surely this is not possible.

While I am not an Artificial Intelligence guru, I will try my best to present you with a number of views surrounding it.

Machines Will Steal Your Job

This is perhaps the most popular perspective I have found upon exploring Artificial Intelligence. It appears as though many people fear losing their job to a piece of technology. This fear is not irrational, as history has proven this as a reality already. In the 1980’s mid-level draftsmen were replaced by software, in the 1800’s British textile artisans were replaced by mechanised looms, and countless cash register staff are now being replaced by self-serve counters.

Research conducted by Pew Research, interviewed over 2000 A.I experts, and found that while 52% are optimistic that Artificial Intelligence will grow to be a positive thing between now and 2025, the remaining 48% worried for the future. However, all agreed that ‘the displacement of work by robots and AI is going to continue, and accelerate, over the coming decade’ (Hern, 2014).

Artificial Intelligence Cannot Replace Humans

The human brain thinks in a non-linear fashion, and can therefore deduce non-linear time and life. Harish Shah suggests that ‘technology was always with limits, and those limits are permanent‘ (2014). Long running cognitive research has shown that ‘cognitive consciousness requires a physical organic biological body’, something that technology simply lacks. While a computer can store more data, and make faster calculations, you cannot programme consciousness or intuition or spontaneity into any piece of technology, a limit that will forever differentiate the value of human intelligence, when compared to artificial intelligence.

Artificial and Human Intelligence Live in Harmony

This is the perspective that I align myself with. While I am aware that machines have and will always replace human jobs and roles, there are strong limitations with technology as suggested above. Where humans have emotion and sensitivity, technology does not, and these are things that cannot be taught. The displacement of work by robots, however, may not be entirely negative. Take for example military robots. These ‘“unmanned systems” are better suited than human soldiers for “dull, dirty or dangerous missions”‘ (Myers, 2009), and the introduction of them a few years ago has resolved the problem of fatigued crew members, and casualties from failed bomb defusions. Where risk and discomfort are eliminated for humans, I believe that technology has an obligation to replace these roles.

While the Internet of Things, and its growing popularity, threatens the jobs of many blue and white collar workers, it should be a thing explored and understood, rather than feared.

References

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5 responses to “The Threat of Artificial Intelligence”

  1. dannatoli says :

    I’d like to think that the Internet of Things will lead to technology working with us, moreso than against us. The idea of McDonaldisation has brought in technologies that limit the human element when it comes to making an order at the restaurant chain, but ultimately I cannot imagine a world where technology does ALL of the work for us. I would expect in the next ten years or so for the concept of ‘cars driving themselves’ to be more advanced than todays standards. I can see technology taking away certain tasks out of our daily life, but I’ll be genuinely surprised if technology takes our jobs. Great post!

  2. ellenahoban says :

    It was great that you opened with a question as it got my mind stimulated before I had even started to read your post. I agree that the Internet of Things is a term thrown around our degree a bit so I think it is very important to clarify just what this term means, which you did perfectly. It is in fact related to any tangible device with the ability to connect to the Internet. It was also important that you clarified that it can mean so much more as I strongly agree with this after studying this week’s topic. I appreciated that you spoke about Artificial Intelligence as I forgot to mention this in my post yet it is a vital factor of IoT so well done. Your example of machines stealing jobs was a fantastic one. I found an article on this topic that you might like to look at http://www.robotswillstealyourjob.com/. It has a few videos that explain ways to survive the economic collapse which I found quite interesting.

  3. dvn163 says :

    You explain the Internet of Things is a very easy and simple way. I have finally grasp the concept of ‘things’. You make all the right points about technology taking over…. to the point where we dont even have to be there for things to happen. Jobs have and will continue to be taken from the advancements of technology and the Internet. But although we may use mood applications and things like that. Nothing can be better than our own personal intelligence (I think). But we now treat ourselves as machines with inputs, data etc. Like in Lupton’s reading from this week the metaphor ‘body-machine’. We are involved with machines almost 24/7 so that explains why we are functioning like them. great blog! covered the topic well! if you want to read more about artificial intelligence and IoT have a look at that: http://www.waylay.io/when-iot-meets-artificial-intelligence/

  4. velvetvinyl says :

    It’s frightening to think that robots and machines will soon enough take our jobs and money and you point that out incredibly well in this post! It’s reassuring to know that our faith in humanity still prevails and that Artificial Intelligence will never replace Human Intelligence and you reinforce that idea throughout your post coherently. Here’s an article about AI vs. HI and the arguments to both sides.http://www.debate.org/opinions/will-artificial-intelligence-surpass-human-intelligence
    It’s interesting to consider both arguments and get a great understanding of something this way which is what you’ve successfully achieved in this post. Well down!

  5. JayRated says :

    I love how you explored the idea of robots overtaking several industries humans are currently employed in within this post, as I had several illusions to The Matrix and Watch_Dogs while writing about this topic. While I agree that there is absolutely a threat to human employment caused by the cultivation of the IoT, this is far from a new issue; humans have been replaced by machines in the workforce since the industrial revolution, but this is not something we should resist. This is simply the natural development and evolution of humanity as a species, sure jobs will lose relevance due to machines but new industries will also flourish as this technology develops.

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