It all started few years ago while I was still a kid, as I rushed home with great joy to watch my favourite Tom and Jerry Cartoon by 3pm. As I watched the screen of our glorified machine “that big cupboard like black and white T.V.”
I always felt inside of my heart that there could be more to this – it could be full coloured but unfortunately, I don’t know how. I even placed coloured nylon on the screen thinking it could enhance its colour, but no, it only blurred the image.
Then one day, the magic happened; Dad bought a new black and white T.V. set and behold, it was coloured no longer black and white. Fantastic! Isn’t it?
That was how we transitioned from analog screen to digital screen. Within the past few years, I have witnessed rapid technological advancements and interestingly more is yet to come.
Welcome to the 21st Century, a world where Alvin Toffler sees illiterates not as those who cannot read and write but as those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
A world where one of the most innovative and disruptive technologies has been born – Artificial Intelligence (AI); Robotics, machine learning and algorithmic decision-making.
The world’s greatest chess masters, PSP game players have been beaten mercilessly by computers. Today, AI could recognize faces, understand and translate languages, drive cars with no human interface, compose music and even diagnose disease like the IBM’s Watson which accurately diagnoses cancer and even schools doctors.
This increasing advancement of AI invokes the fear of job security and the future of humans. The World Economic Forum’s future of jobs study predicts that 5million jobs will be lost before 2020 as artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human workers.
Stephen Hawking gave it an apocalyptical view as he tells the BBC that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race”.
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX said “we should be very careful of artificial intelligence.
If I were to guess, like, what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that”. Then a recent report from A.T. Kearney predicts that by 2020 robo-advisors will manage about $2.2trillion in assets.
Ever wondered why Amazon is expanding its Echo line powered by its digital assistant Alexa, why Microsoft is enhancing Cortana, why Apple is improving on Siri, why Samsung is rolling out Bixby and why Facebook is developing its own messaging AI?
It is not too early to begin considering the implications of this disruptive innovation as the difference between man and machine is undeniably shrinking. With the present unemployment, occasioned by the unemployability of the youths! What then does today’s world hold for her?
If machines take over our jobs, if robots will be doing all the work for us, then what else could we humans be doing?
You now need to AI proof your job by complementing your technical skills with soft skills. For finding rewarding and lucrative opportunities in the future demands that you enhance your knowledge-base and input a human touch which adds value a machine cannot add. And like Pistol, a character in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, I say to you – the world is most definitely your oyster; take the dive!
About the author:
Freedom Chimereze is an Advocate for good governance and peaceful co-habitation. Founder, Global Citizens’ Initiative (NIG). He first published this article in 2017.