AI disruption and jobs


Fascinating interview with Andrew Ng, Baidu’s chief AI scientist (via The Ringer).

About Andrew:

A former AI researcher at Stanford, Ng is best known for spearheading the Google Brain initiative, an ambitious artificial-intelligence project that helped advance Silicon Valley’s understanding of deep-learning techniques. Instead of being programmed to respond to specific actions, a deep learning system is fed massive amounts of data from which it is able to discern patterns over time, loosely mimicking how the human mind absorbs information. Ng’s system at Google famously figured out what a cat looks like after scanning millions of online images.

Worth reading in full for his views on how AI will displace jobs, what that really means, and how we can prepared for it. Here’s a taste:

Do you think there could be a point when politicians or the general public will be actively hostile toward AI research and view it as a threat to their livelihood? How do we avoid that kind of outcome?

AN: One thing that concerns me is when AI researchers whitewash the issue. I think there is a temptation to pretend the issue is the specter of these evil AI killer robots. It’s a PR distraction from the real issue, which is job displacement. I think that researchers have a responsibility to talk about the real problem and be honest and transparent about what might need to happen and also to contemplate solutions — which I think is providing [for] the education of communities as well as the support so that every person has an equal path to doing equal work.

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By Craig Bailey