Not so far in the future, there is every possibility that artificial intelligence will overtake human thinking. Robots are on the rise and ready to rumble. The last 20 years have seen significant developments in the robotics industry. Today, robots play chess, drive cars, manufacture and do a lot of other things that humans do. It seems that every aspect of our daily lives is now being challenged, influenced and to some extent managed by computer age.

Rise of the Robots

In his eponymous book, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford spoke of the advancement in computers, whose intelligent algorithms were well on their way to making white collar jobs obsolete. Bankers, accountants, medical doctors, and even computer programmers were poised to be replaced by robots. Without a radical reassessment of our economic and political structures, we risked the very implosion of the capitalist economy. The achievements of artificial intelligence are supported by a wealth of economic data, to illustrate the terrifying societal implications. From health and education, to finance and technology, all jobs that are on some level routine are likely to eventually be automated, resulting in the death of traditional careers.

Erik Bryjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in The Race Against The Machine (2011) and The Second Machine Age (2014) argued that with the advance in technology, computers could do it all. This phenomenon is both broad and deep, and has profound economic implications. Humans aren’t keeping up. Although technology isn’t destiny, humans are losing the race against the machine. “In domain after domain,” they gloomily wrote, “computers raced ahead.”

The robots are coming and we must decide whether the future will bring prosperity or catastrophe! Technology has helped us to advance. At the same time, it may take away access to basic needs, like jobs and food.

Changing Landscape of Healthcare

As further testament to the advancement of AI, computers can now see your health problems. A new App was developed in the US, which can diagnose genetic health problems in a matter of minutes. Face2Gene leverages the fact that many genetic conditions have a unique constellation of features that can provide clues to a potential diagnosis. It is just one of several new technologies taking advantage of how quickly modern computers can analyse, sort and find patterns across huge realms of data. They are built in fields of Artificial Intelligence known as Deep Learning, promising to revolutionise medicine by recognising and diagnosing disease.

The Future in a Robotics World

As technology continues to accelerate and machines begin ‘think’ for themselves, fewer people will be necessary. Artificial intelligence is already well on its way to making even good jobs obsolete. As progress continues, blue and white collar jobs alike will evaporate, causing massive unemployment and the implosion of the consumer economy. Humans will be reduced to carrying out the most ‘menial’ of tasks. It may seem that the ‘jobless’ future is no longer a myth, and nothing can be done to survive.

And yet, some argue that the advancement of technology ought not to make humans obsolete. For example, Face2Gene, which can diagnose up to half of the 8000 known genetic syndromes using facial patterns still needs the experience of medical doctors to verify its results. Similarly, financial transactions may be subject to audit, review and external validation. But, at some point in the future, there is a real risk that computers may be able to do all that. Echoing recent prophecies, it seems that we are now at a tipping point where robotics, if not handled right, may trigger mass unemployment and economic collapse. At that point, as Stephen Hawking noted, the obsolescence of humanity, and not just from the workplace, may ensue. Artificial Intelligence could spell the end of the human race!