Artificial intelligence and post-pandemic world -Abu Tahir Mustakim
The exercise ran quite well in great extravaganza. It was in broad daylight, in front of tech savvy eyes. There were a lot of applauses. Many techy spectators were visualising the future world through this display of this mega gadget. However, many have uttered cautions against apparent alternative to human workforce. Thus was the demonstration of artificial intelligence or AI. Artificial intelligence will play a key role in fourth industrial revolution (4IR) which is characterised by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the growing utilisation of new technologies such as cloud computing, Blockchain, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless technologies, among others.
The world saw the spark of artificial intelligence during the coronavirus epidemic. From treatment of coronavirus patients in hospitals, diagnosis, research to serving customers in hotels and the accompaniment of lonely seniors — everything was done by robots. Beside delivering food, controlling traffic or spraying disinfectants on the roads by drone everywhere artificial intelligence is leaving a footprint. These attempts to deal with the coronavirus with drones and robots have caught sight of everyone.
The preparation was already made there. In its continuation, AI was being taught in almost every capable university in the world. Various experiments were being carried out. Thus, about 35 hundred AI companies have been formed in the world.
Forbes magazine and data partner Meritech Capital put together a list of private, U.S.-based companies that are wielding some subset of artificial intelligence in a meaningful way and demonstrating real business potential from doing so.
The honorees span categories like human resources, security, insurance, and finance, with healthcare, transportation, and infrastructure startups best represented on the list. While most of the 50 hail from traditional tech centers like Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston, there’s representation from smaller hubs such as Detroit and Austin, too. Cumulatively, the startups are flush with cash–unsurprising, given that startups touting AI received a record $7.4 billion in funding in just the second quarter of 2019.
Two German companies have set example of how artificial intelligence can be helpful in a situation like the coronavirus epidemic. Together they have been able to build a fully-automated production process within a week using robots. And using this process, it is becoming possible to make face masks in Germany quickly.
In the meantime, researchers in the United States and China reported that they developed an artificial intelligence tool that is able to accurately predict newly-infected patients who are developing severe lung disease like wet lung.
Using this information along with other factors, the tool was able to predict risk of “acute respiratory disease syndrome”- ARDS, a severe complication of the COVID-19 illness that fills the lungs with fluid, with up to 80 percent accuracy.
Using AI in medical settings is not a brand new concept – a tool already exists to help dermatologists predict which patients will go on to develop skin cancer.
An advantage of robots is that the biological virus like Covid-19 cannot infect machines though it may easily be affected by man-made computing virus. So Susanne Biller of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) thinks, after lifting the ban on coronavirus pandemic, it is possible to reduce the use of human workers in shops by using more robots. This will make it easier to maintain social distance. The scientist even sees the possibility of placing a robot in every second workplace for the time being.
And this possibility has become the cause of headaches. Coronavirus conspiracy theorists have come up with various opinions. Some say that the coronavirus has been deliberately spread around the world to actively use artificial intelligence and other automation; the robot has been brought to the fore by keeping people under lockdown. There has been a conspiracy to reduce production costs by highlighting the superiority of the machine.
Martin Ford writes about how robots will be involved in economic activity in the coming decades. He told the BBC that people usually want another person to communicate with. But coronavirus has changed that set belief and practice. It is changing consumer priorities and creating new opportunities for automation.
During the coronavirus crisis, many large and small companies are using robots to maintain social distance and reduce the presence of workers in the workplaces physically. Robots are also being used for tasks that workers cannot do from home.
Health experts warn that there may be a need to maintain some social distance until 2021. In that case the demand for robot workers will increase. Fast food chain McDonald’s is experimentally using robots to cook and serve food. Robots are already being used to increase efficiency in Amazon and Walmart warehouses. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, both companies are considering expanding the use of robots for sorting, shipping and packaging products.
This will reduce the complaints of the warehouse workers in the current situation of not being able to maintain the distance from one to the other. However, technology experts think that many of those workers will lose their jobs.
Once a company puts a robot in place of a human, they are less likely to hire that employee again. Bringing a robot to start work is very expensive, but once installed, it is more affordable than a human worker. McKinsey, a global consultant, predicted in a 2017 report that by 2030, one-third of people in the United States would lose their jobs due to automation or the use of robots.
Big technology companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence. Facebook and Google are using artificial intelligence to remove irrational posts. The move came as their content moderators could not review much from home.
From now on, Microsoft will use an automated process instead of journalists to sort news on its MSN website. As a result, 50 journalists are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. Like other technology companies, Microsoft also buys news from various media outlets to upload news on its website. But it was up to the hired journalists to decide how the news would be presented. As a result of Microsoft’s move, these tasks will be done by artificial intelligence from now on. Like many other companies, Microsoft wants to test `robot journalism’ to reduce costs. Google has also invested in several such projects to understand how it works.
Amazon announced last year that it will spend $700 million to train about 100,000 workers in the US by 2025, helping them move into more highly skilled jobs. But The New York Times observed that with this program Amazon is acknowledging that advances in automation technology will handle many tasks now done by people.
The number of jobs which AI and machines will displace in the future has been the subject of numerous studies since 2013, when a pair of Oxford academics, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, estimated that 47% of American jobs are at high risk of automation by the mid-2030s.
McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 40 million and 160 million women worldwide may need to transition between occupations by 2030. And according to Oxford Economics, up to 20 million manufacturing jobs worldwide will be lost to robots by 2030.
But World Economic Forum hopes that automation will displace 75 million jobs but generate 133 million new ones worldwide by 2022. A recent Forrester report (Future of Work) predicts job losses of 29% by 2030 with only 13% job creation to compensate. These kinds of estimates indeed endanger fear as we can see in recent surveys of individuals and business executives.
However, international security experts express their concern about the use of artificial intelligence. They warn, if the technology falls into the hands of states or terrorists that do not comply with international law, it could lead to major abuses.
Miles Brandez of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University said: This artificial intelligence will change the scenario of the risk of insecurity of people, institutions and the state. Miscreants can use this technology to hack, to intrude into people’s privacy – there are all kinds of security risks. In most of the cases of artificial intelligence, it has been observed that this technology not only goes beyond the level of human intelligence, but in many cases it surpasses human intelligence. Artificial intelligence is changing everything, researchers say. We live in a world that is becoming more vulnerable day by day due to the misuse of artificial intelligence.
Experts have given some examples of how artificial intelligence can become dangerous in the future. For example: artificial intelligence technology company like AlphaGo invented by Google DeepMind. It is so clever that it can defeat human intellect. If this technology falls into the hands of hackers, there is a risk of data theft. A person can buy a drone, train it to recognize human faces, identify then and attack a person. Making fake videos can lead to political abuse. Through speech synthesis, hackers can copy other’s voice. In a 100-page report, researchers have identified the potential for misuse of artificial intelligence in these three areas: digital, physical and political.
And that’s why when this artificial intelligence is being created, its inventors have to create things at the same time so that it is not abused, and even if it can be dealt with – say the researchers. To this end, a team of researchers is also pushing for new legislation.
They were joined by Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church. The ‘Rome Call for AI Ethics’ manifesto was unveiled at a meeting with technology companies in February. It is hoped that, it will lend meaning if not governance frameworks for the use of artificial intelligence. The declaration called on its creators to consider programmes that are harmful to human dignity or human rights. Much of the policy language of this call has been taken from the International Declaration of Human Rights.
There is a long-held belief that increasing use of robots in industry will reduce human demand. And there is a risk that many people will become unemployed and end up in street protest, demanding reinstatement in jobs. Or will engaged in damaging those machines whom they lost their jobs to like those Russia farmers who dismantled the tractors in the days of Leo Tolstoy. However, analysts believe that the opposition to increasing use of robots in the next world of coronavirus may gain momentum.
The writer is a journalist and columnist