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December 10, 2019

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Learn to live with AI

“Can you imagine a world where robots can pass college entrance exams with a high score?” Such was the headline of an article posted on Xinhua news agency’s Thinker section last Friday.

The author, a popular science writer, began with a story from Japan, where a robot — call it AI — had scored almost perfectly on an English test required for the nation’s college entrance — a radical improvement from its performance three years ago. The author then concluded that AI will eventually displace more than 99 percent of the jobs done by men and women, with those sweating in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors bearing the brunt. Even such creative jobs as writing, painting and composing will ultimately be lost to robots.

The author thus advised that we’d better think about how to work with AI, rather than what jobs will be lost to AI.

The thing is, what is that less than 1 percent of the jobs that men and women can still keep? And in this world of men and women, can AI think independently?

The author was euphoric about the ultimate “triumph” of AI in the job market, but evaded these two critical questions that will ultimately determine the job potential for AI — or robots by any other name.


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