Intelligence Upped and Offed!

Do you have children or grandchildren? Do you have dreams for them? Do you want them to grow into self-sufficient, intelligent, caring and responsible adults? Do you wish to safeguard their future by leaving behind a better world? If your answer to all these questions is a resounding yes, here’s why you need to begin questioning if there is an inverse relationship between artificial and human intelligence. And then ask if human intelligence has been upped and offed. No, no….this is not weird talk. So, please don’t abandon this post just yet. I promise the rest of the post will set you thinking. Or, at least I hope I make sense and it does.

Consider the following facts:

  1. Quantum jumps in technology have enabled businesses to begin replacing humans with robots and drones. I would highly recommend you read a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article dated December 10, 2014 by William H. Davidow and Michael S. Malone on What Happens to Society When Robots Replace Workers?  But even if you don’t read the HBR article, the title is self-evident, isn’t it? Where will the jobless go? How intelligent then is the human development of an automated, robotic world? It was this line of thinking that prompted me to write a blog sometime ago on Why the Hindu rate of growth may not be so bad after all! 
  2. Some pundits predict that the new knowledge economy, shared services economy, on-demand economy, and what-have-you economy will generate new job and income opportunities. Maybe. But as of now it appears that a shared services and on-demand economy will only increase job insecurity and income uncertainty! I ask again, how intelligent can that be? If people are uncertain about their income, they will simply cut back on their expenditure. It will be back to the essentials and then, where will the markets be for all the intelligent new products and services? If you are interested about where the economy or rather the jobs are going, I would suggest that you read The Economist issue dated January 3, 2015 where there is a most interesting lead feature titled The future of work: There’s an app for that. And after that, do read an article in The Washington Post, dated April 21, 2015, by Matt O’Brien titled Economists have discovered how bad the economy really isBoth articles, particularly the last, should be wake-up calls.
  3. Just a while ago, reputed thinkers in the developed world were advocating that workers need new skills to survive in the knowledge economy. So, now everyone is taking on steep debt to finance a college education. Will there be so many jobs available? I doubt it. But what is more scary is that apparently highly qualified managers may be needed less than they are now in the future. I came across this really scary article Here’s How Managers Can Be Replaced by Software by Devin Fidler dated April 21, 2015, again in Harvard Business Review. Apparently a prototype software dubbed “iCEO” has already been tested to check if high level management can be automated. What’s more, the results have been encouraging! So, no jobs on the floor. And, no jobs in the cabins.

Intelligence, or rather Artificial Intelligence (AI), is being upped in spades. But what about human intelligence? Well, considering that many jobs seem to be in danger of going extinct, I would say it has been offed!

I can only hope I am being a worry monger and that things will, in fact, be for the better. For a few thoughts on how the job market could reconfigure, read Crystal Ball Gazing into the Job Market.

#employmentfirst #jobs #Artificialintelligence

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Featured Image Credit: cup of robots ~ on white. Image by hobvlas sudonelghm ( CC BY 2.0)

Related Links:

William H. Davidow and Michael S. Malone. Harvard Business Review. December 10, 2014. What Happens to Society When Robots Replace Workers?

The Economist, January 3, 2015. The future of work: There’s an app for that. 

Lata Subramanian – Why the Hindu rate of growth may not be so bad after all!

Matt O’Brien, The Washington Post. April 21, 2015. Economists have discovered how bad the economy really is.

Devin Fidler. Harvard Business Review. April 21, 2015. Here’s How Managers Can Be Replaced by Software.

Lata Subramanian – Crystal Ball Gazing into the Job Market.

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