The End of Work?

The End of Work?

Turning Point: An AI system teaches itself how to play and win video games without any programming.

Welcome to the era of AI-human hybrid intelligence, where people and artificial intelligence systems work together seamlessly. Picture the scene from the 1986 movie “Aliens,” where Sigourney Weaver slips into a humanoid, semi-robotic weight-lifting unit to fight the alien queen — that’s about where we are today. (A number of companies around the world are developing versions of such devices for industrial and medical use, with some already on the market.)

— The Associated Press is using Automated Insights’ software to produce thousands of articles about corporate earnings each year, freeing up staff for other reporting. Humans expand and polish a few of the most important articles.

— While Facebook’s virtual assistant M, introduced in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015, uses AI to answer user questions, humans vet the answers to improve them.

— IBM’s Watson is employed at some hospitals in the United States to determine the best course of treatment for individual cancer patients. Watson analyzes genetic information and the medical literature, and then provides suggestions to the doctors in charge.

Humans supervise these AI programs and make the ultimate decisions, but white-collar workers are understandably starting to worry about the day when AI can go it alone.

Don’t panic: Though the AI Revolution is underway, it is unlikely to eliminate many office jobs within the next five to 10 years. Current AI research and usage only targets specific tasks, like image recognition or data analysis, while most jobs require workers to draw on a broad range of skills.

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