Millions of people may need to switch occupations and acquire new skills as AI begins to replace huge numbers of jobs over the next decade. The details on how this transition is going to play out, however, are sparse.
There are those camps that believe that AI will end up creating more (if different) work for humans, and others who fear a massive bout of unemployment.
According to 2017 research by consulting firm McKinsey, one-third of the U.S. workforce could be out of a job by 2030 thanks to automation. They also estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals globally could be displaced by automation.
Another report by the World Economic Forum released in January shows that nearly one million Americans will see their current jobs disappear entirely by 2026, and they’ll have to acquire new skill sets to meet the demands of the marketplace and find equally paid work.
So are we ready for this shift? Probably not.
But while these numbers can be scary, there is still hope for humans: One skill that differentiates people from artificial intelligence is creative thinking, which will be the key to survival, says Mark Cuban–billionaire investor on Shark Tank and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.
Cuban recently told Bloomberg TV that he’s concerned that many jobs won’t exist in a few years’ time thanks to automation. Related: Ride-Sharing: The Next Hotbed For Cybercrime?
“I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there were for programming majors and maybe even engineering,” said Cuban. “When the data is all being spit out for you, options are being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data.”
He also warned his listeners that even people with in-demand skill—such as computer coding–could soon be displaced.
“That might be a great job a few years ago, but you might be out of work in five years”, Cuban said, referring to what he described as “the automation of automation” whereby computers learn how to write software better than humans can. In other words, our greatest fear should be that computers could end up being their own masters.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is another billionaire who frequently expresses a fear of AI even though he relies on it heavily.
Superintelligence–a form of artificial intelligence (AI) smarter than humans–could create an “immortal dictator” from which we can never escape, Musk warned in a documentary by American filmmaker Chris Pain.
“When you want to do something new, you have to apply the physics approach,” Musk explained. “Physics is really figuring out how to discover new things that are counter intuitive.”
Technology is developing rapidly and we have to catch up with it because the price is too high. Any person who doesn’t learn about AI is “going to be a dinosaur within 3 years”, Cuban warned earlier.
But at the same time, AI will be the main resource that will push us to improve creative thinking in the workplace, so there’s a trade-off as there always is.
The trick is finding the balance, and with creativity being arguably the least rare quality of the masses, the very near future may see an extreme shift in who comes out on top.
By Damir Kaletovic for Safehaven.com
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