Is John McAfee smart

Digital! Robots and humans - who owns the future?

Do you still need journalists when the newly developed bot from the Californian startup OpenAI can write an article on its own with just a few pieces of information on any topic? What does this mean for jobs in the future and what does it mean for people?

By David Nițu

Do you still need doctors when Deepmind's newly invented system has shown that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be as accurate as trained specialists in diagnosing eye diseases? Do you still need journalists when the newly developed bot from the Californian startup OpenAI can write an article on its own with just a few pieces of information on any topic? What does this mean for jobs in the future and what does it mean for people?

Many now believe that artificial intelligence has become as smart as the human mind - if not smarter. Will we no longer need doctors in the future? Will there be no more secretaries? In all areas, AI is conquering the new areas, tasks and skills that were previously seen as the exclusive domain of human intelligence. But does that also mean that AI is better and smarter than humans?

To this question, John McAfee, owner of the well-known software company McAfee, replies: "It is wrong to compare artificial intelligence with the human mind because they are completely different things, even if their functions temporarily overlap."

Humans and AI are different

The human brain is not superior to AI. The same is true in reverse. The problem: the two simply cannot be compared with each other.

The essential thing that distinguishes the two types of intelligence is the way data is processed and the ability to think abstractly.

Even the most sophisticated AI technology is essentially no different from other computer software: data bits travel through electrical circuits at super-fast speeds. The AI ​​can solve problems as long as they are in the right records. A human brain cannot do that - especially not so quickly.

When it comes to processing data, humans are obviously inferior to AI. In the time it takes a human to identify and label an image, an AI algorithm can process a million images.

In other areas, the human brain is clearly ahead when it comes to abstract thinking. People can use knowledge in another area and “common sense” is exactly what it means. There are many proven cases where AI models illogically fail once they are presented with an example that is outside of their problem area or is different from the data they were trained on.

Let's say a computer lives in Berlin, so that it is familiar with all the streets and intersections of the city. If you bring him to Munich one day, he will have no idea about the city and will therefore not find his way home. Why? Because he has never visited Munich before and because he cannot process the new data.

© Mario Sixtus. The beginning of a wonderful friendship. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
In contrast to computers, humans are able to transfer information into a different context and learn from mistakes. In contrast to the robot, humans would find their way at some point based on their previous experiences, through traffic signs or simply through questions from locals.

Forgetting is also difficult for humans. You can try as hard as you can, but some memories, good or bad, just stay in our minds. With a computer, on the other hand, it's very easy - just delete the relevant file.

In a nutshell, AI is well suited for repetitive tasks that have clearly defined boundaries and can be represented by data. In contrast, human intelligence lends itself to tasks that require common sense and abstract decisions.

Is my job really at risk?

Is the increasing fear of people that their job will soon no longer be justified? Will classic jobs such as secretaries, translators and doctors soon be replaced by AI or IT jobs? Statistics from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) show that fewer and fewer people are actually needed for many tasks. But maybe that's a positive development. Why should people bother with something that AI can do much better and faster? Valuable human intelligence and work has been put into these jobs until now because we hadn't yet developed technology to automate them.

As AI becomes more and more suitable for the fulfillment of its tasks, we as humans will have more time to use our intelligence in other fields. To be creative, to be social, in the fields of art, sports, literature, poetry and all the things that are valuable because that belongs more to the human spirit and character. There are more and more opportunities to show your passion and creativity to the world through the media or through your own website. This could also be a way to earn a living in the future. A passionate photographer could publish his best photos on the Instagram photo platform and maybe find paying advertisers.

In the IT sector, too, artificial intelligence has created countless new employment opportunities for programmers and IT experts over time, which also offer growing salaries.

New technologies bring new opportunities

We are in a time similar to the post-industrial revolution, where humanity feels the need to step forward and at the same time is afraid of something new. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, says that people will adapt quickly to the new types of jobs and will appreciate the new opportunities.

The Swedish researcher Hans Rosling stated in an interview on the “Future of the World” in December 2018 that we are moving in the direction of better times and unimaginable innovations. Some experts are still warning against AI today, others are sure that AI can support people, but will never replace them. Nobody knows today what AI will be able to do in five, ten or twenty years. Perhaps self-driving cars, air taxis and the 12-hour work week will soon be completely normal. One thing is clear: the technology cannot be stopped and being afraid of it is of little use. Anything that helps us evolve as human beings is certainly useful, and artificial intelligence is no exception.