Technology displaces, rather than replaces, workers. A smart machine may take the job of someone here, but they should eventually find other work there. Or so we have always believed.
That notion appears to be under assault though, and financial and sports reporters, online marketers, financial analysts and advisors, some lawyers, and even surgeons, all people with roles that require varying degrees of skill, may find their jobs threatened by advancing technology.
Some experts say not to worry because technology has always created new jobs while eliminating old ones ones, displacing but not replacing workers. But lately, as technology has become more sophisticated, the drumbeat of worry has intensified. “What’s different now?” asked Leigh Watson Healy, chief analyst at market research firm Outsell. “The pace of technology advancements plus the big data phenomenon lead to a whole new level of machines to perform higher level cognitive tasks.” Translated: the old formula of creating more demanding jobs that need advanced training may no longer hold true. The number of people needed to oversee the machines, and to create them, is limited.
It may not be as small as some of us might have envisioned personal jet packs to be, but the P12 looks like it will still stow away conveniently away in a corner of the garage. Commutes of the future may be about to become a whole more interesting…
“We don’t waste time with the dumb”… well, I’m glad we clarified that from the get go. Brighton based UX and UI designer Luis Abreu describes his perspective of Apple’s recruitment process, when he was recently considering taking a role with the US technology company.
3 weeks after speaking for a total of 2 hours with possible future team members, I was invited for a new round of onsite interviews at the Apple Headquarters. Due to thanksgiving, workload, and holidays we ended up scheduling this new round of interviews for the second week of January 2015. I was given a link to Apple Travel and freedom to book a return flight and 3 nights accommodation at a hotel near the Apple HQ.
An interesting read, especially if you’re thinking of working one day for a large, multinational, tech company.
Are you hitting the search engines looking for information about an illness you’ve – erroneously more than likely – diagnosed yourself with, based on material you’ve discovered by way of the same search engines?
But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns – confidentially, we assume – are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores. It’s happening for profit, for an “improved user experience,” and because developers have flocked to “free” plugins and tools provided by data-vacuuming companies.
A library full of books to help people rebuild civilisation, should the need arise, is one thing, but books may not be much use if we were without tools, or what may seem to us now, basic items of technology. Indeed, people may not last very long at all, a matter of mere days possibly.
This may come as a shock to those people – nearly always wealthy, well-educated, and comfortable – who see themselves as “all natural” or “anti-technology.” Typically, their first objection to the thought experiment is that, if any of this was true, then we would not be here, because our ancestors would have died. If they could survive without tools, why can’t we? The answer to that is simple if surprising: our pre-technology ancestors were from a different species. They had big teeth, strong jaws, small brains, moved mainly on four limbs, and were covered in fur. After them came our more recent ancestors, humans but not homo sapiens, that used primitive tools that eventually changed their bodies. Those ancestors gradually evolved into us.
A post apocalyptic world minus tools and equipment is an unsettling thought to say the least. In addition to the proposed library, maybe a store of tools should also be established?
If resources were severely restricted, those who might one day find themselves, for whatever reason, having to rebuild the Earth’s civilisations, might have to rely on single sentence snippets of information as starting points. I’m not sure how much that would actually give anyone to work with though.
If it were possible though to preserve a number of books, somehow keep them somewhere safe, and out of the way of whatever brings down today’s civilisations, what titles should such a library, or depository, contain?
Music producer Brian Eno, writer and blogger Maria Popova, and Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly, among others, have been on the case, and suggested titles that could constitute a section of a library to be called the Manual for Civilization, that would house such a collection of books.
My question is how good are we at the moment in detecting an alien ship/fleet that jumps into our solar system. Do we have radio dishes around the globe such that we can detect objects in space in all longitude and latitude degrees? I know we have dishes pointing to the skies but how far can they reach? Do we have blindspots perhaps on the poles? I also wonder if our current means, ie radio signals, are relatively easy to be compromised with our current stealth technology? To formulate it in more sci-fi terms, how large is our outer space detection grid, and what kind of time window can they give us?
The Turing Test, named for British computer scientist Alan Turing, in essence, tests a computer’s ability to pass itself off as a human. For instance, it could be that the… person you’ve been engaged in an email dialogue with for weeks – and who you’ve never met of course – in fact turns out to be a rather clever bot.
Fooling a human into thinking a computer may be human however, no longer appears to be sufficient test of a smart bot’s mettle it seems, as there are now calls to replace the test with something a little more challenging…
A plan is afoot to replace the Turing test as a measure of a computer’s ability to think. The idea is for an annual or bi-annual Turing Championship consisting of three to five different challenging tasks. A recent workshop at the 2015 AAAI Conference of Artificial Intelligence was chaired by Gary Marcus, a professor of psychology at New York University. His opinion, and one that we share is that the Turing Test had reached its expiry date.
If you’re a scientist running tests and experiments on peanut butter – and after all the cake and watermelon, it is really just another chemical compound – you might find yourself paying top dollar to obtain the laboratory grade stuff… as in US $671, for a jar similar in size to what you see on supermarket shelves.
This peanut butter isn’t actually intended for your mouth (rude, I know), but to be fed into laboratory gadgets like gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers. Smart people then use it to establish an industry-wide standard to which similar food products can be compared. The high price has nothing to do with taste or quality, but simply reflects all the scientist-hours that went into its making.