When will artificial intelligence put us out of work?

Posted by

Do you realize that your grandchildren may no longer be employed, in jobs that were until recently only for humans? Writing songs that will top the charts or conducting scientific research will be handled by robots in just 20-30 years.

In 2016, a group of researchers from Oxford University and Yale University conducted a survey to prepare a prediction of when Artificial Intelligence will overtake humans in performing tasks at work. Prior to the survey, the term “High-level machine intelligence” (HLMI) was defined as the phenomenon that machines can perform any task better and cheaper than humans without human assistance.

Consequently, the question can be asked, when can we expect full automation of work? The authors of the study answer that this will happen when all professions (even those not yet known today) are fully automated. This meant that for each profession, a device (physical robot or algorithm) could be built to do the job better and cheaper than a human.

Respondents to the survey were scientists who attended two series of scientific conferences in 2015: Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems (abbreviated as NeurIPS and formerly NIPS) and International Conference on Machine Learning. A total of 1,634 authors were asked about their predictions for the development of HLMI, and 352 people responded to the survey questionnaire. The questions focused on when certain AI abilities would emerge (such as playing games or translating languages), the superiority of HLMI in particular occupations (such as driving a truck), or the superiority of HLMI in general over all tasks at work.

The results are quite surprising, although in many cases, 6 years after the study was conducted, there is already great progress in the application of Artificial Intelligence in replacing humans in various types of tasks. The average prediction of being completely thrown out of work by robots was within a period of about 120 years with a probability of 50%.

From the point of view of the year 2023, predictions that the job of a salesman in a store will be replaced by automated cash registers, which is already happening, seem accurate. Also, such human activities as amateur translations into another language and operating a bank hotline have already been successfully replaced by Artificial Intelligence. Interestingly, AI researchers predicted that only in 70 years HLMI will replace themselves in researching the use of Artificial Intelligence. Earlier, in 30 years, surgeons and writers of best-selling novels will be replaced.

And where on the list of professions being replaced by robots are managers? They don’t! The authors of the survey did not ask respondents about this profession. So, can it be hoped that team managers or project managers will someday be replaced by algorithms? How might this proceed? How will it be done?

I will answer these and other questions in my next blog posts.

Download the article:

When Will AI Exceed Human Performance? Evidence from AI Experts