Could exponential technologies coupled with slipping education standards create a labor-income gap? If they are, what can we do about it?
So, when will your job be replaced by artificial intelligence (A.I.), computers, or robotics? For some it might be a while, for others the answer may be a lot sooner than you think. Ready to find out why?
There have been numerous studies on the "Singularity" of computing power, and this year the discussion will likely grow louder as we start to see early examples of it beginning. This post is an intro to the exponential (really fast) growth of computing power, Human VS Computer capability (so far), and how things can get weird very quickly.
This post is also Part 1 of my A.I. Stepping into Life Series, where I'll share my thoughts on how the progress of computing is likely to impact human labor, the economy, and possibly life as we know it.
These are merely thoughts I've gathered along with those of many experts, to help spark your own ideas on the impact A.I. may have on your career. Sound fair? OK, first let's watch this CGP Grey video to start down the rabbit hole...
Alright, now that you've been compared to a horse, let's go a little further. Science fiction has done a wonderful job painting colorful and dramatic visions of humanity's future with robots:
To be clear, I do not think these guys will be your boss in 2045. Sadly though, this dramatization has led us all to be more dismissive and nearsighted of what computers are capable of.
As of now, we are the masters who hold the power to program, control, and determine the outcomes of what computers and artificial narrow intelligence can do. But that power is quickly changing, and as humans with bias, it can be hard to grasp how quickly machines can progress. Let's try though, eh?
"By the time we get to the 2040s, we'll be able to multiply human intelligence a billionfold." - Ray Kurzweil
So, what does a "billionfold" look like? Let's explore by taking a look at some exciting Humans VS Computers data trends!
Alrighty then, the approximations above show super computer performance in Teraflops per second, and how they'll continue to grow based on Moore's Law over the next four years. As of 2014, the world's most powerful super computer could only achieve the equivalent of 1 second of human brain activity, and it took 40 minutes to compute! As you can see, we have a nice upward trend here. No knowledge bombs yet. Moving on...
Now we're getting an idea of where things are going. If Moore's Law holds true (and it has since 1965), we'll see a rapid rise in the computational power of computers. Your brain can probably still grasp the upward trend you're seeing here, but notice how small the progress from 2014 to 2020 looks now! Can you feel the knowledge bomb bay doors opening?
Say it with me: KABOOM! Knowledge bombs be droppin'! Notice that the growth from 2014 to 2030 that looked so big before is now a flat line compared to what's coming. This is the power of exponential growth that a majority of technology experts say will lead to a time when computers begin a runaway, infinite expansion of capability. Experts call this, The Singularity.
As we approach the singularity, things get weird quickly. Economies may falter and industries could change over night. You think gay marriage is controversial?Just wait for the first human-robot weddings.
In my upcoming posts, I'll break down the speed of these incremental changes, and how you can start thinking of ways to race with machines to save your career. I'll also discuss how this could impact Recruiting both near-term and long-term.
If this is all review for you at this point, then you my friend are ahead of the curve. Everyone else, it's time to catch up! (If you didn't notice yet, you can click the highlighted words above for interesting articles and background on this topic.)
Lastly, for those of you who scoff at this type of hypothesizing remember: Everything that had never been done before, was at one point declared impossible. (click here to read part 2)