When I was a little child, my father admonished me for being terrible at math and refusing to study. He predicted that I’d be a rickshaw-puller. Still better, my mother had some miserable understanding of my inclination towards arts; she said, literature won’t feed you. Writing is a hopeless ambition.” These predictions were made when there were box computers in my English medium school donated by well-meaning families from Canada and the United States. Every kindergarten student died to grow up to go FD1 and FD2 (Logo programing language) in the computer class. It was more serious than attaining puberty.
They are coming back to a research study published by the University of Oxford in 2013. The prognosis of automation came to life with that significant finding. The researchers wholeheartedly held machine learning responsible for the situation. As you would know that machine learning is one of the most powerful branches of artificial intelligence. Machines are programmed to learn from data, mimicking many things humans were better known for before their invention.
In 2012, the offshore Bank of America unit in Hyderabad, India, underwent a massive layoff. I was a mortgage counselor with the subprime recession team recovering people from their financial deadlocks. President Obama at that time mandated the withdrawal of all financial processes, and that claimed unemployment for the hour. My colleagues were afraid; the smarter ones were happy with the severance package. As a loudmouth that I am always, I proposed automation for BoA’s Visa operations. I was aware of machine learning and how it took over redundant tasks such as entering 1000s of cheque numbers like robots, assessing credit risk from loan applications, sorting the mail by reading handwritten characters from zip codes, etc.
Automation? Did your parents send you to school so that robots can do the work? I know it was hilarious, but I contained his stupidity. I could see my colleagues were so dependent on that single activity that the future was a blur to their eyes. Thanks to my performance, I could dodge the penalty of my team leader, who disdained the idea. The truth that automation could suck all of them dry anytime rattled my conscience. I advocated for upskilling my people to save them from the sinkhole of technology. I was concerned about their families and expected the management to call upon automation before automation raided unawares.
Zoom to the current decade, we have accelerated dramatically through all technology breakthroughs. Now machine learning completes complex tasks and aids difficult research in Cancer Research and critical illness, and offers hospice care and attendance to patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurological degeneration. Machine learning is treating data to help researchers discover a drug for the novel Corononvirus 2019. We eat food; machine learning dictates genetic composition to farmers in organic labs. Machine learning has percolated everywhere. Besides ML, other Industry 4.0 technologies have become a threat for many who still earn through taught skills.
So what is there for humans to be so confident of? Something that humans can hold on to and coexist with bots? Is there any profession that technology cannot usurp from our control? The good news, yes! There are myriad things that machines can’t do. If we have 7 billion people on earth, we have 7*7, i.e., 49 billion problems. And technology cannot do everything on its own; we need to be coding them through creative assessment of situations. There are fundamental limitations of machine learning which thrives on large volumes of unstructured data. What we humans thrive on is even powerful, and that’s cognizance, our natural cognitive faculty.
Jobs that Artificial Intelligence Cannot Do
Now, this is a particularly remarkable example of creativity. But this sort of cross-pollination happens for each of us in small ways thousands of times per day. Machines cannot compete with us when it comes to tackling novel situations, and this puts a fundamental limit on the human tasks that machines will automate.
Quite dystopian to imagine bots in the court defending human shit, arguing with the judge that you are not the dear criminal. In this arena, humans will thrive as lawyers, administrative clerks, jury, and other legal battle heads for an unforeseen future.
Food processing can be automated, genetic coding of vegetables and meat we consume could be under the purview of the latest technologies. But as a chef, your job is beyond the reach of automation as of now. The beans will still grow in coffee pods.
It will always be humans at the helm of marketing campaigns as per evolving business strategy. No matter how many tools come into the play of simplifying our tasks, there’ll never be a second day without human intervention.
This is one of the many industries that’ll only experience selective impairment, such as reservation and booking. But no cuffs are pegging you to stay home and not enjoy the pleasure of real travel and discovery. Hospitality will remain untouched.
Technology will only evolve when we evolve. The day we stop exploring, technology comes to a standstill. Education is the vehicle for our cognitive commuting, which codes our supercomputer brain. The education industry is to stay in the leeward of technology.
This is the industry that can only get better with technology. If your child is interested in dancing and singing, or any creative performative arts, you should rest assured of their future. They will stay in the job as long as they can create and innovate.
If your child is creative, don’t be disappointed as your parents have been about you. Artificial Intelligence cannot compensate for natural intelligence, and therefore create jobs that will dominate the future, will find new means to flourish. The industries that I have discussed in this article are just a handful of the many immune to Artificial Intelligence. Your primary focus should be to ensure you don’t force your child into a tunnel of finite possibilities. If they want to break a car or recast a doll’s head, guide them so that they are not hurt but don’t discourage them because you don’t deem it worthy.
Remember that we have 7*7, i.e., 49 billion problems? That’s an unimaginable load for Artificial Intelligence to tackle.