Samuel Butler, a 19th-century English novelist, denounced the slavery to which machines subject men. He also feared that technological progress would end in tyranny on the human being. Nearly two centuries later, engineer Martin Ford(56-year-old England) is also that machines, such as artificial intelligence (AI), will outperform man and steal his job. The robotics expert has participated in Madrid in an event of the Cre100do Foundation. The author warns that it is necessary to prepare against what will mean the rise of new technologies in the next 10 years.
Ford has been in the United States since his five years and is the author of three works: Lights in the Tunnel: automoción, a accelerating tecnology and economy of futuro(2009), The rise of robots: tecology and the threat of an unemployed futuro (2015) and Architects of itence: la truth about a. The writer, who lives in San Francisco, questions technology, its advances and its impact on all types of sectors. Before finishing the interview he mutters that too many people live on the street and that it is very sad. In harmony with this confession, he reiterates throughout the discussion that many more people will be left behind when AI truly imburses,
Artificial intelligence will be a very strong tool that will extend our creativity. It is indispensable in the main challenges we are facing
Question. How does human beings have to adapt to this technological change?
Answer. Definitely, this technology will bring many benefits for everyone and I even believe that, in the not too distant future, it will save many lives. But a lot of jobs are going to disappear completely. Others are going to change and many will lose their skills. We have to find a way to adapt,
P, and what would it be?
R. Universal basic income seems like a good idea. I'm not sure people are ready, but I think it's very important to start talking about it. Maybe one day it will become a necessity and we'll have to be radical,
P. Is this what you're most afraid of technology, needing to be radical,
R. The impact on jobs is one of the essential points, yes, but there are other issues like privacy that we are already seeing, such as facial recognition, for example. China is building a frightening surveillance system. In every country, as in the United States or England, there's always a camera looking at us,
P. As cameras control our security, artificial intelligence diagnoses our diseases... what do you think of it?
R. AI is very powerful and, in some cases, machines can do a better job than doctors.
P. are machines better than humans?
R. In some cases, yes. For example, in the discovery of drugs or to find new medications for diseases. AI will be a very strong tool that will extend our creativity. It is indispensable in the main challenges we face, such as climate change, and we cannot afford to live without it,
P. What do you think of what you already do to overcome these challenges?
R. There is clear progress, but I believe that technology is the best hope and the key to solving them as governments do not seem willing to cooperate and people, to make sacrifices in their way of life,
P. Which jobs will be most affected if this cooperation is not established?
A is going to transform our society in 10 or 20 years and we'll have to put new rules in place so it doesn't impact democracy
R, The problem will be everyone's problem. Artificial intelligence will be a utility, like electricity, it will be everywhere and everything will depend on it. Some areas like factories are already heavily impacted by progress and things will go to much more. The same will happen in the areas of finance, accounting and other jobs where the worker sits in front of a computer.
P. But if the machines do the heavy lifting, the worker will be able to develop other more interesting facets...
R. It's an optimistic view. It will be true sometimes and sometimes it won't. Depends on what kind of work you're doing. If you are a scientific researcher, this tool will allow you to have freedom to think big. But what if you work at the McDonald's making burgers? My main concern is that a lot of people will be left behind,
P. Jobs will be created at the same time...
R, Yes, of course. But not as many will be created as those that will be destroyed. And the person who drives a taxi today will not be so easy to integrate another sector. 30% or 40% of jobs could be affected if we don't find a solution. We can't leave nearly half of our society without hope,
P. So why is it so insistent on artificial intelligence?
R. AI improves the capabilities of the human brain. When our brains are not enough to innovate in some sectors, such as aviation, for example, we can turn to it. AI is going to transform our society 10 or 20 years from now and we shouldn't put a limit on research because it's so important. But in this case, we'll have to regulate and set new rules so that it doesn't impact democracy,
P. But then, if the machine improves the brain, what do humans have better than the machine?
Not as many jobs will be created as those to be destroyed
R. This is the big question. Artificial intelligence can paint, can compose music, write stories and even interact and be an emotional support, although it does not yet reach the level of sensitivity and creativity of the human being. But maybe one day she'll get over it and be the most talented creator. This is just the beginning,