Norfolk network

When you think of artificial intelligence, what comes to mind? At a young age I watched a movie called ‘IRobot’, (so not going back too far) but when I think of AI, this is the first thing that comes to mind. Robots that think and act for themselves.

Dom Davis’ talk at the Norfolk Network event in the forum was all about AI – what it is, how far it has come and what affect it will have on our futures.

I’m always pleased to have the opportunity to go to Dom’s presentations because they are always entertaining and very insightful and this one was no different. I learnt that AI has already been a part of our home and work lives for years now through things like search engines to more advanced inventions like the self-driving car. This sparked another discussion in itself about liability and who would be responsible if the self-driving car was in an accident.

Take the scenario that was used by Kitty Rosser, one of the panel members that discussed and answered questions after the presentation. She asked the question of who would be responsible if the self-driving car had two options. 1) Carry on driving and hit a small child that has run into the road, or 2) Swerve to the side and hit an oncoming bus. Most of the audience decided it would be the manufacturers fault, as their design and software would be flawed. The question of how long would it be before we blame the AI itself and start treating the AI as an entity arose and Dom quickly shifted away from the talk about AI being sentient and moved the discussion onto what our futures and careers would look like with AI becoming more and more advanced.

The topic was interesting, because some mundane tasks are thought to be completely automated eventually through the use of AI. Some tasks that employees do every day or once a week will eventually be automated. A few people in the audience asked whether or not the trades like electricians and plumbers would hold more value in the future, because of the physical aspects of the job that an AI program could just not do and whether or not professions would lower in value.

The discussion carried on with questioning what skills would be valued most in the future, when AI finally comes around and is more advanced and across the board it was decided that physical skills such as trades would be important, but also that the personal and social skills would be valued greatly as well. Feeling empathy and being able to connect with other human beings will be an essential and well valued skill to have in the future, that is if AI doesn’t become sentient and can feel those things themselves.

Personally, I’m not too worried about AI and it affecting my career. I think that AI will enhance our careers and I look forward to seeing the technical advances that arise in the (possibly) near future.

Words: Lewis Leeds