18 Jul ROBOTICS, ML & AI – A PERFECT STORM OR CHANCE FOR A LEANER, AGILE SOCIETY
An opinion piece from NJMC.
I do not wish sound pompous by using a quote from a thinker in a time of upheaval and change, but his words apply;
“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country” A. Lincoln 1 Dec 1862.
Or in this case, Planet (capital P).
We all know it is coming, we can all feel it in the wind. It is like the movie of a Stephen King book where the camera pans out over low hills over a small town to take in the vista of an unusual and deeply threatening storm approaching, little flashes of electrical discharges high in the leading edge.
However is this really what it is going to be like as the march of machine and AI progresses?
I suspect it is going to depend on where in society you are sitting and the decisions we as a society demand are taken as to how exposed to the storm you will be, but sooner or later the constant hammering of wind and rains means that everyone is eventually going to get wet, its how well you dry out afterwards that is going to count !
While nearly all repetitive work is going to be taken over by machines, many other jobs are going to be created requiring different and more unique skills. The sting is that such jobs are not necessarily created at a rate of one for one and it is unlikely to happen in a linear fashion. New discoveries and incremental advances are going to create peaks and troughs, possibly with dangerous social implications. Agile social policies will be needed. There will be a growing need for individuals possessing higher tech competencies to install, programme and maintain cutting-edge industrial equipment, as well as write and integrate software, they will be come the kings of the workplace, for a while. Creativity will become far more valued and marketable, experience event for more important that acquisition of yet more clutter.
Society, Ownership, Democratisation – The AI Revolution Failsafe
These changes cannot just be left to the market place as they are going to have very human impacts, society, all of society, needs to be interested and needs to be involved. So much will have to be transitioned if we are all to experience the incredible benefits that robotics, AI and ML can bring. If we refuse to get involved then it is going to be left to business, that is to say “market capital” and that will be a road to social misery. Do we passively allow new age industrialists free rein to pursue any profit-driven automation projects they wish? Should we continue to allow our governments to sell OUR data or should we lobby for the complete democratisation of historic data currently held by proprietary entities?
I for one believe that any innovations launched in the automation space should be judged solely on the basis of tangible public benefits such as improvements in environment protection, healthcare delivery, even distribution for more equal quality of life and food production.
Humans must not outsource decision-making power to AI’s such as Amazon’s or Google’s to inform how we navigate our daily lives. We have to interact with fellow humans (dare I say actually re-connect?), relate to our physical environment, and plan for the future. If we do not hold onto this power we might be opening ourselves up to catastrophic events should the AIs we’ve allowed to “run our lives” ever be compromised either by malicious design or accident. Shall we passively allow new age industrialists free rein to pursue any profit-driven automation projects they wish, or should we lobby for the complete democratisation of historic data currently held by proprietary entities and insist that any innovations launched in the automation space be judged solely on the basis of tangible public benefits such as improvements in healthcare delivery and food production?
Agile & Lean Thinking, Agile & Lean Policies
This revolution could bring our poor battered planet so much but we all need to take part, we all need to become what we at NJMC have forced to become for some years now – Agile and Lean.
The pace of change is going to be such that none of us can afford to “let someone else handle it” nor can we “Leave it to the experts”. The stakes are high and so we must all become our own mini-experts. You could say that we all need to have less interest in Sky Sports or Game of Thrones and step up to get involved.
There is another key area that has to change, education. The pursuit of increasingly devalued legacy qualifications has to go, we need new agile and lean systems of education (more of this in another post).
Politicians need to change. Less of the middle age spread, less of the dogmatic and corrosive party politics, more socially aware, lean and agile. As a politician you are a servant to citizens, time to stop doing it to build personal wealth via the established paths of career politicians walking through revolving doors between banking, media and military industries. Continuing this path is going to first choke creative thinking and then bias the sort of policy thinking we will need.
We cannot leave the Robotics & AI revolution to either politicians or industrialists, every single citizen need to be involved because this will impact us all and that impact needs to be kept to a human and humane level.
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