No matter your political alignment, the development of AI impacts society on all levels. Are you envisioning a communist or ultra-capitalist dystopian future? The AI is there. Are you thinking of a utopic future? The AI is there as well. We need to come to terms and accept that unless a meteor hits Earth, the AI is here to stay and currently just scratching the surface.
A Brief Overview
I use the broad term AI to refer to any artificial intelligence, including but not limited to machine learning, deep learning, and artificial general intelligence. For those who are interested in particularities, I refer you to this infographic that briefly explains A.I.
AI is the broad term that refers to any machine that can perform a human cognitive function, including cognitive functions regarding senses.
This piece does not aim to answer unanswerable questions like whether AI will eradicate all humans or not. Most likely no, but in any case, it is too early to tell, so let’s focus on questions where it is more likely that we find a correct answer.
Short-Term Disruption (1-3 Years)
The annual investment in AI technologies is soon to reach 100 billion. The AI industry is providing jobs and economic growth short-term. People augmented by AI are more efficient and can focus more on major things and less on details. Humans are more prone to errors than robots.
Many fields and businesses are disrupted by new competitors who employ AI technologies as it makes new competitors more efficient and precise. Human jobs are not severely affected at the moment and humans still have plenty of jobs they can move to if their job becomes obsolete due to automation.
Even though to run AI you consume electricity, specific AIs that target optimizing power consumption can also help save energy and maximize computation.
Mid-Term Disruption (3-10 Years)
By 2030 many jobs we now have will have disappeared (almost half). Automation and AI enhance job performances, so fewer people are required to perform the same tasks, while other tasks are entirely automated or obsolete.
For businesses, this means lower costs and better productivity so using AI and big data is slowly becoming a must and most companies will use a form of AI until 2030.
The rate at which jobs disappear is far higher than the rate at which hard-to-automate jobs are being created. This is why prominent world economists host meetings taking into consideration the implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI).
Try to remember the world back in 2004: there are no social networks; nothing is shared except for music and movies on many illegal platforms; very few people have portable devices, not to mention smart-phones. Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? The world in 2030 will be even more drastically changed compared to 2018, more than it is changed now compared to 2004.
In conjunction with other disruptive technologies like big data, the blockchain, IoT, VR/ AR, and even quantum computing, most fields will be reworked, and man augmented by machine will be standard in 2030.
Things are tokenized, they become more liquid, and everything is at a faster pace. Far more people are freelancers or work from the convenience of their home.
Long-Term Disruption (10-30 Years)
We enter even riskier assumption territory now. I don’t believe in a dystopian Orwellian centralized future. My view based on current trends, is a view of a future that is way more efficient, far more decentralized and granular.
In 30 years I find big social and political changes, a more decentralized society with online secure voting systems on many issues, all trust is managed by AI, and the load taken off humans for most day-to-day operations.
We recovered from two big world crises.
Significant breakthroughs in medicine increase lifespan further, and the world population is older. People are incredibly interconnected; they switch jobs very often because the AI augmentation enables working in very diverse fields at the same time and they take jobs from different corners of the world.
The world augmented by AI is a far more efficient world, but also a more creative world. As machines take care of the more tedious parts of a job as well as manage trust (like payments, bills, even self-replenishing fridges that know what to order at the store), people find more time to be socially engaged and a lot of extra time on their hands for creative work.
It is Marx’s utopia in a way, but decentralized and automated rather than communist and centralized. Overall it is a future to look forward to, so take good care of your health to get there.
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