The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Existentialism

Human beings attain material comfort, purpose and psychological gratification from the jobs they do. When this feedback loop erodes, people become upset. A study by Ball State University revealed that of the 5.6 million manufacturing jobs lost between the year 2000 and the year 2010, nearly 85% were lost due to automation and not trade. This is just one of the varying existential crisis’s that artificial intelligence is causing.

The good news is that automation is not artificial intelligence, but it doesn’t stop the media from conflating the two. That said, robots and human written code represent the employment changes that artificial intelligence looms. We have data that quantifiably suggests that computers are more than capable of driving for us, flying for us, warehousing for us, and making meaningful progress in the manual & repetitive tasks surrounding data compilation. Several law firms, brokerage houses, investment management firms, and even marketing companies have invested in technology that merges artificial intelligence with predictive analytics to execute repetitive tasks that, with speed that has made humans quantifiably redundant.

According to research from Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne of the Oxford University Engineering Sciences Department, at least 47% of the jobs available today are susceptible to automation.  These include rule-based routine tasks as mentioned above but also include areas that involve pattern recognition, paving the way for replacing humans in non-routine cognitive tasks. In the world of human based quality assurance, such as beverage or ice cream taste testing, machines are on the verge of taking over due to advanced in enhanced senses and dexterity, paving the way for greater manual tasks. The impact of this would be that core unemployment mirrors that of the Green Recession, with net displacements being insignificant especially as artificial intelligence improves.

When people cannot support themselves, contribute or work, it triggers a crisis in existentialism, and this is an area all business executives must become all too familiar with. While today there are movements to bring jobs back home, in the future the cause will be to give jobs back to humans. A company that markets itself as people-centric will need to reevaluate and weight out the benefits of giving in to human first production at the expense of errors and scale. This is where lobbying comes in to make automation compulsory for industries that cannot risk even the slightest fraction of failure in production & quality assurance.

Suggestions to stop artificial intelligence are moot because humans will keep developing it, and its financial backers will continue to reap attractive returns from its impact. Unlike nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence advancements rely on human talent rather that large physical inputs so any treaty-based regulation would be ineffective to halt progress. For as long as the incentive to develop artificial intelligence exists, humans will continue to be involved. In doing so, we will be able to detect health issues early, prevent many human error related accidents, end human casualties in war, free human minds from tedious work and see an overall rise in productivity. 

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Ahsan Khalid

About the Author Ahsan Khalid

Ahsan Khalid is the director of technology at Centric DXB. He is a trusted partner for clients as well as internal cross-disciplinary teams to ensure quality relationships. He can be reached on ahsan.khalid@centric.ae

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