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Are We Racing Toward AI Singularity?

Are We Racing Toward AI Singularity?

A message for prospective job seekers and employers.

With the quick progression of technology in the past 50 years, many are asking the question about AI singularity. Essentially, AI singularity is the invention of artificial superintelligence that surpasses human intelligence. In this hypothesis, a computer with artificial intelligence would maintain self-improvement cycles leading to an accelerated change in technology. Artificial intelligence now is much more benign. Most AI programs can only accomplish one function at a time such as facial recognition or translating foreign languages. Although AI is far from the singularity, many employers already see changes in the business environment.

Consider Otto, an American truck company experimenting with autonomous vehicles. They use AI to function as the brain of their self-driving technologies to collect and process data in their environment and make specific actions. Otto made its first automated delivery in late 2016 with a 120-mile route between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Otto and Softbank are not the only two companies utilizing AI, as many other organizations use it to find patterns and process data. This brings up the question, what does this mean for prospective job seeker and employers?

For employers, this might change the nature of assessing candidates. Companies would be able to attain a large amount of unemployment data, analyze it, and make an informed decision in a matter of seconds. These new screening systems could also change the process of finding candidates. Recruiters will use new tools to analyze on-paper candidates before interviews. While AI may ensure better screening and candidate fit, it will be difficult to process human emotion during an interview. This solidifies humans as the dominant role in the hiring process.

Potential job candidates should also consider a world-leading towards the idea of AI singularity. Prospective job seekers will see changes in professions on how they were previously performed. This means adaptability is the key to success. Some occupations will be discontinued entirely. Although this may be real, new jobs that require more complex knowledge tend to replace older ones. For example, before computers, telephone operators were used. Since the rise of technology, this job has ceased to exist. According to a study by AT&T, many of the telephone operators found jobs as typists or transcriptionists. Just as computers created more jobs, artificial intelligence will sprout new industries for job seekers to go into. Being able to readjust to technologically is another key to success.

Beyond this, technical knowledge will be extremely important in the job market. To maximize chances for success, one may consider evolving and learning alongside technology. This will better prepare one for jobs that will use AI and automation. For example, positions such as maintenance technicians and IT are in high demand in the current market. Although these positions may be not relevant with AI singularity, similar jobs will be needed to fill such as machine learning technician.

Just because technology is advancing does not mean all hope is lost. Many industries will adapt to artificial intelligence, and new industries will be created. This produces many opportunities for both employers and potential job seekers. The most successful are going to be those who embraced the change and used technology to its full advantage.

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AR/VR is Defining the New Era of Enterprise Mobility.

AR/VR is Defining the New Era of Enterprise Mobility.

From pagers to phones with internet capabilities and GPS, mobile technology has accelerated quickly over the past decade. Even with a tremendous amount of innovation, mobile technology will soon be obsolete. With the recent development of augmented and virtual reality, businesses can now use this technology in place of mobile tech. Companies such as Facebook have already embraced the change making virtual reality its central vision. Overall, AR/VR now has a broader range of applications in the workplace. Here are just a couple of examples how AR/VR can impact the work environment.

Technicians and engineers are using AR/VR to assist with completing manual tasks. With virtual reality headsets, overlay of information, instructions, or maps are given to the technician to better support the service, has increased worker productivity as there is less time spent analyzing charts or instruction manuals. This technology also aims to improve accuracy and reduce the amount of error or injuries found on the job.

Real World Training
Companies are using AR/VR for employee training. By immersing the employee in a virtual reality experience, the staff member can retain more information than traditional practice. This can increase efficiency at a lower cost. Medical universities use virtual reality to simulate real-world scenarios and better prepare med students. One test shows that surgeons retained 80% of training material via VR compared to only 20% via lecture.

Customer Experience and Sales Improvement
Marketers are using this technology to allows customers virtual interaction with brands. This can better help consumers visualize products and allow more profound insight into buyer preferences. For companies, this leads to a more efficient marketing campaign. In some cases, allowing customers the ability to interact with products through virtual reality on the showroom floor can sell products. For example, Makeup companies using VR carry the ability to allow the customer to experiment with makeup on their face before purchasing the item.

Real-Time Analytics and Data
Companies can use AR/VR to create real-time analytics. For boardroom meetings, this means communicating more effectively to show real-time business data and forecasts. This helps improve decision making and better unifies understanding of operations. Aircraft pilots are already using this for the visualization of simulation results. Instead of continually moving back and forth, they can analyze everything from one location.

Warehousing and Logistics
Warehouses can use this technology to guide workers for stocking, organizing, and tagging items. This can better assist with product losses and worker injuries that occur in the warehouse. One study has shown that smart glasses increased efficiency by over 25%. Beyond this, AR/VR has severe effects on logistics by adding a warehouse control system. This can maximize efficiency for distribution centers.

The potential for augmented reality is endless. More businesses are recognizing this and are incorporating VR into their processes. Enterprises need to capitalize on this movement earlier than its competitors. With a progression towards AR/VR, technology such as phones and tablets may become obsolete. The potential for mobile tech is slowing down as it nears the end of its life. It is time to embrace the new trend and technology change that is virtual reality.

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Is Artificial Intelligence the solution to skills 

Is Artificial Intelligence the solution to skills 

AI is a toolbox that provides options, but the defining attributes of cost-effectiveness depend on dozens of factors outlined below.
The short answer is that the most efficient use of AI, with current and near-future tech under consideration, is to supplement human labor with automation rather than to replace it. To take advantage of the increased proficiency and accuracy that machines offer, in predictable environments balanced with the common sense and experience of a skilled human counterpart.
An analysis of the best deep-think machine learning algorithms used, for example, by Google’s AlphaGo in their contest against Go champion Lee Sedol resulted in a 4-1 victory for Google. It was an impressive feat, but the fact remains that many of the matches were extremely close, Sedol still won a game, and commentators agree that the machine made several critical mistakes in virtually all of the games, errors that no human would likely make.
AI will undoubtedly revolutionize the modern workforce and shift the focus of human labor, but it is unlikely to eliminate very many jobs.

The Potential for Automation
Though difficult to quantify exactly how advanced today’s AI is and who leads the field, there are numerous examples currently in practice for companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and of course NASA that are nothing short of amazing.
Amazon’s online algorithms not only guesstimate what products users might be interested in based on their history and other data vectors, but it is also exceptionally skilled at buying and selling products based on marginalized profits that continually leave Amazon on the cutting edge of retail sales. Their use of Kiva robots is also revolutionizing the way Amazon’s warehouses operate and is a perfect example of how automation best fits into the workplace.
Kiva robots move and organize inventory around in the store, bringing everything directly to the human labor force who are reserved for the filling and packaging of orders. People ensure accurate fulfillment, adequate insulation or padding, and determine the appropriate box size for shipments containing multiple items. This decision-making involves experience and human perception that ‘s hard for robots to perform even in the predictable environment of a warehouse.
The potential for automation is therefore limited by the cost of automation versus technological feasibility, the scarcity of (skilled) labor, performance, regulatory compliance, and even social acceptance. For obvious reasons, AI pushes hardest down the path of least resistance in automation tasks achieved primarily through software.

Costs VS Feasibility
The more predictable the environment and predictable nature of the work, the better and cheaper automation will be. An analysis of dozens of labor activities (rather than occupations) by McKinsey & Company shows that highest potential for automation exists in the finance industry where bookkeepers, Wall Street traders, and mortgage bankers spend up to 90% of their time processing data.
It is this middle-of-the-road between the costly overhead of human labor and technical feasibility that automation shines by simplifying complex data into a streamlined output for human convenience, often in the form of infographics. There is also substantial room for improvement in insurance, transportation, food service, accommodation, manufacturing, and with the advent of IBM’s Watson, even healthcare automation is feasible.
In each case, existing automation technology improves efficiency and performance in the reading and processing of bulk data with NLP and NLG, reduces human error, monitors employee stress and performance, and calculates optimal logistics (with or without self-driving cars). Even individuals whose salary exceeds $200k per year still spend up to 50% of their time filling out forms, reading and responding to e-mail, and other tasks.

Watson: A Case Example
It’s no secret that in the United States the healthcare industry lacks sufficient medical personnel to meet the burden of demand. Watson, which uses machine learning to read scientific journals and articles, processes data into extensive Q&A sessions where experts from a variety of technical fields refine Watson’s understanding. The result is an extensive, comprehensive database that allows hospitals to run comparative searches for symptoms, improving efficiency and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment options.
Watson is fundamentally changing the managerial structure of hospitals where the chief physician manages a handful of doctors, who manage numerous assistants, who manage even more nurses, all of which are advised by Watson and ultimately supervised by the chief physician. The result is that smaller number of doctors can treat a larger number of patients, saving money and improving care without negatively impacting the job market.

Compliance and Social Acceptance
Social acceptance cannot be ignored. In settings such as healthcare, patients expect human contact and may be distrustful of machines that they can’t directly interact with. Doctors are all too aware of the damage fear and doubt can cause when a patient is unsure that their diagnosis or treatment is accurate. Trust is like a placebo, one that influences success rates and the ultimate cost of care and insurance premiums.
Many countries also have laws regarding what jobs humans and robots can or can’t perform. Naturally, dangerous jobs such as disarming bombs or cleaning up toxic spills and waste lean toward automated or at least remote-controlled machines, but a human pharmacist still needs to sign off on your newest prescriptions.

The Future
Though AI provides a supplemental answer to the skills void, it is the abstract nature of human reasoning that machines just cannot duplicate. With time, automation technology will continue to improve and offer a wider range of options, particularly in unpredictable labor environments like construction and agriculture, but it is unlikely that they will ever eliminate human decision-making entirely.