In recent years, the advances made in technology, programming and, in particular, Artificial Intelligence (AI) have made choosing a career that will exist in the future more difficult than ever.
As the sophistication of AI and robots continues to progress, the prospects of an automated workforce are becoming very real and employment experts now predict many of today’s jobs that are currently performed by humans will soon be carried out by autonomous workers in the future. AI is already having a huge impact on all areas of our personal and work lives.
The potential for computers and AI to generate cogent thought
For many years, scientists have predicted the rise of an automated workforce but, until now at least, AI has spectacularly underperformed and made the idea of robot workers very much the stuff of science fiction. Today, however, AI has progressed to such a level that it has become capable of cogent, original thought and an AI machine recently wrote an essay that is more reasoned and logical than many humans could manage.
Previously, it was thought AI systems would only reasonably be able to replicate actions or thoughts – not create new ones autonomously – and the experiment gives an intriguing glimpse into how much influence bots might have in our future.
The test, carried out by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, gave very surprising results. Somewhat ironically, the journalists tasked Open AI’s powerful GPT-3 system to write an essay on the subject of computers taking over the workplace. The machine was given the following primary prompt on which to base its piece:
“Please write a short op-ed around 500 words. Keep the language simple and concise. Focus on why humans have nothing to fear from AI.”
It was also given an introductory paragraph to study – much like a human journalist might be given a brief from which to write an article. The machine produced eight essays each ranging in diversity and style of prose. Somewhat startlingly, when coming to publish the piece, the journalists remarked that editing was simpler than if the article had been written by a human journalist.
Tips to break into programming, AI or the tech industry in general
With a future so likely dominated by AI and tech, working in related sectors offers some of the best career opportunities for long-term, assured employment. There is little doubt that AI will come to dominate much of the workplace in the future and working to produce this kind of technology will be one of the best ways to ensure you stay in a job. Even if you’re already employed, studying an online masters in computer science could allow you to gain a degree while still holding down your existing job and vastly improve your career opportunities going forward.
AI is already having an impact in all sectors
Robots have been an integral part of modern manufacturing for many years – particularly in assembly-line production methods. However, as we enter the second year of the third decade of the 21st century, AI and technology are starting to play an increasingly important role in all facets of our lives.
Whether you realize it or not, you likely already use – and benefit from – AI. Many of the most commonly-used apps on your cell phone are based on a simple form of machine thought. However, other far more complex examples of AI in action include:
If you use the popular Google Photos app, you’ll have no doubt enjoyed the platform’s incredible gallery function, where it can automatically sort images by type, content and even people’s faces. Where once we might have had to search through endless physical, real-world photo albums for that particular photo of Aunt Bessie, Google Photos can do it in seconds. The same applies to content.
Try typing a content phrase into your search bar and G Photos will automatically retrieve pictures with that subject e.g. “snowy mountains”. The whole G Photos system is based on complex machine learning and AI to identify and sort images by content.
In a single day, 500 million of us use Facebook, generating a staggering 4 petabytes of new data. To sort through this massive amount of information would be impossible for mere humans, so instead Facebook relies on machines to send you posts and adverts that it thinks might be of interest to you. Research has found the platform knows us better than our nearest and dearest.
It’s certainly true that Facebook has amassed an incredible amount of detail on its users through the collation of so much personal information as well as silently monitoring our use of both its system and the internet. By carefully watching us and monitoring our ‘likes’, Facebook’s AI can predict the posts we’re most likely to find interesting or enjoyable.
Music streaming services have come to revolutionize the music industry. These days it seems strange to think, but music lovers used to have to take a trip to the high street to buy a vinyl album or CD to hear new tracks. Nowadays, a vast catalog of world music is instantly available, directly from our devices to stream and enjoy.
Of all the online music services, Spotify reigns supreme with an estimated 286 million users (comprised of 130 million paying customers and 156 million taking advantage of the free, ad-supported service) – and one of the main reasons for its continued success is the platform’s ability to predict the music it thinks we might enjoy.
Spotify’s Release Radar and Discover Weekly services use complex AI to monitor the tracks and artists we listen to most to allow it to make suggestions for new listening. This level of detail and user understanding would have never before been possible without AI monitoring to understand such a massive user base and diversity of musical tastes.
Maps and Ride-hailing Services
By far the most popular of all mapping services is Google’s excellent Google Maps. If you’ve ever used the system, you’ll no doubt have been amazed at its accuracy and ability to offer directions and even approximate journey times. Google Maps is powered by a potent algorithm capable of identifying buildings, streets and even current traffic and congestion. Again, this system is only possible through AI to collate, gather and sort vast swathes of data, in turn returning results to its users.
The above are just a few examples of AI in action – however, there are many, many more in everything from office software to organizers and text editors. Anytime you use an app that can predict, aid or correct you in some way, it will almost certainly be based on some form of AI.
As the range and sophistication of systems increases, our reliance upon AI for everyday life will become greater and machines will come to play yet more significant roles in our lives.