At a recent talk Baidu’s Andrew Ng and Singularity’s Neil Jacobstein commented on how the hype surrounding AI is very real and that it will have an impact on jobs.
Baidu’s Chief Scientist Andrew Ng, and Neil Jacobstein, chair of the artificial intelligence and robotics department at Singularity University, spoke to The Wall Street Journal’s Scott Austin about the future of AI and they discussed how the new technology might impact human jobs in the future.
While many experts are claiming that the new technology will have an unprecedented affect on the businesses of the future, Ng argued that we are already seeing the effects of AI today. “AI is creating a lot of new opportunities. Just as about 100 years ago electrification changed every single major industry, I think we’re in the phase where AI will change pretty much every major industry,” said Ng.
He went on to talk about the years of hype surrounding AI, but stressed that this time, it’s
personal real. “Modern industries go through winter, winter, winter, and then eternal spring. I do think we’re in the eternal spring phase of AI, because unlike the earlier waves of maybe overhype, today AI is creating tremendous value for firms like Baidu and Google.” He continued, “This creates a very clear revenue stream with which to keep investing in and improving AI technology.”
Ng’s company, Baidu, is currently focused on speech recognition and during this discussion claimed that soon conversing with computers will be commonplace. “You’ll soon forget what it was like before you could talk to computers,” he said.
Jacobstein was keen to stress the importance of utilising small teams in the development of AI, and making sure we keep up with the technology. “I believe in the power of small, interdisciplinary teams that have support high up in the corporation. It’s very important to match the speed of the technology with the nimbleness of the teams. And having a centralised AI guru at the top, where everybody has to ask questions of that person, is unlikely to be as fast and effective as having a decentralised organisation with powerful teams, with real talent,” he said.
He also spoke of the importance of education. Both Ng and Jacobstein admitted that some jobs may be lost to the technology, however, it also opens up countless new opportunities and we have to ensure that future generations are able to understand and work with AI. “For that reason, we need to invest heavily in free education and explore various ways to provide a basic income [to those who are displaced],” he said.
“The good news is that AI and robotics are going to generate massive amounts of new wealth. Our responsibility is to make sure that in addition to having our companies be successful, people who get displaced have a reasonable quality of life,” finished Singularity’s Neil Jacobstein.
You can watch an edited version of the full interview in the video below.