Martin Goodson, CEO and Chief Scientist at Evolution AI, a data science consultancy, specialising in natural language processing (NLP) and experts in R&D for data-science products, took some time off his busy schedule to talk to Big Community on his thoughts and the future of Artificial Intelligence.
“Three things have made AI become accessible today. We now have access to so much more data where previously we didn’t in order to train AI systems. The 2nd is the technical advances where we see increased accuracy and performance in neural networks using large amounts of data,” he said explaining why AI is finally able to make an impact.
“The 3rd is because of open source software that has been developed and has made the technology much more accessible. It has made complicated programming much simpler where people can now import the technology.”
The introduction of AI of late has been making waves across the world both in good and bad light. For customers who want quick service when calling a vendor, an AI bot that has the ability to address the issues will be much more welcoming than not having their issue being settled. At the same time, the rapid progress that AI has been making, seems to be replacing the human workforce as well. Not only answering calls, but in automated vehicles as well where drivers are . Perhaps take over the taxi service industry.
Martin sees this as an opportunity for humans to shift their paradigm. “I think the human element is going to change. I don’t think we will be doing what we term as low level knowledge work. Reading documents, extracting information from those documents and then adding that information to a spreadsheet, is what we see happening a lot today. Where 20 to 30 analysts are just reading documents all day. Taking that information and putting it onto a spreadsheet. That kind of work doesn’t require a lot of intellectual input being repetitive and relatively simple.
“That kind of work should be done by a computer. It’s rather boring for humans and unrewarding and they should really be taking the data that the computer extracts and help make better decisions based on those insights.”
He believes the nature of the work will change in terms of using data effectively and understanding and improving AI systems, as well as learning to troubleshoot those AI systems. Productivity of the individual will change and people will be allocated into relevant positions.
He gave the calculator as an example where in the 50’s, calculating jobs had changed with the advent of the calculator, which were then replaced by the desktop computer with spreadsheets. It had a massive impact on productivity. At the time people were equally concerned about losing their jobs and job availability, but it didn’t happen. Just the work that had to be done changed. In fact office work has exploded since then he iterates.
“There are going to be less lower level repetitive type jobs but jobs like AI operators will become available which didn’t exist 5 years ago. People will need to know how to use an AI system.”
The fear of losing one’s source of income in light of the development of the AI development, is a valid if not very real fear for many. However, over the past few years, governments and corporations have come together to build a better future for the people.
Already in the pipelines in many Asian countries are numerous training and educational programs for children and young adults to be prepared for the new digital age when they enter the workforce. Even for working adults, training programs to help people adopt the new technology is taking place. Malaysia has not put a foot wrong in its move towards digitizing the economy and creating an ecosystem to flourish. The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has been hard at work bringing awareness to the masses and building the infrastructure with its many partners. Hence the AI revolution would be a welcome addition to making lives better and in many cases, help impoverished nations as well by lowering costs and enabling automation.
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