First of all, let us modify the notion of a world without work and turn it into a world with continuously changing work. A little shift in the perspective can cause a major shift in the general attitude towards artificial intelligence. Yes, AI is the most paradigm-shifting development in the history of technology, comparable to the invention of the steam engine or the discovery of electricity, or the internet. The innovation of this stature is bound to bring about radical changes in the way work is done. There are certain steps that individuals and companies can take in order to cope with the change.
Unemployment vs Redeployment
Like I said earlier – we must embrace the radically changing work infrastructure and modify our attitude towards it. Forward-thinking leaders perceive AI as a way of opening new vistas towards human prosperity and wellness. Deepmind Technologies in London has developed a system that can process 1 million images from eye scans and prepare itself to detect degenerative eye disorders. Computer vision is being actively used to cope with the lack of radiologists in developing countries.
You cannot discard these improvements with a theory of potential mass unemployment. The need of the hour is to train existing professionals with skills that will support them in a transformed work environment and prepare them for redeployment.
AI vs Automation
A lot of people utter AI and automation in the same breath as if they are the same thing. Nothing could be farther than the truth. You can hard code a system to iterate a particular task, and that would be automation. AI is something different. It analyzes data and forms patterns to train itself. The associations and patterns a deep neural network forms inside its layers are often unknown even to the knowledge workers. If you have to code it to perform a certain task it is not really artificial intelligence.
Automating iterative tasks has very little to do with AI. It has been done for ages and it does not require cognitive abilities on the machines’ part. A way of coping with automation is to involve in work that is not repetitive and requires human intelligence.
Elimination vs participation
Artificial intelligence and large-scale automation based on machine learning abilities are quite inevitable developments across the world. It is difficult to identify a professional stream that will stay unaffected by AI. Everything has a scope to be augmented with AI. If you consider the developments in virtual reality, even the travel and experience industries are set up for disruption.
The key to survive is to participate. Augment your own skillset with AI capabilities. Understand the scope of popular AI and build your own skillset around that, so that AI augments your abilities rather than replacing them. Take an applied AI course, see if you can use the newfound skills to enhance your own entrepreneurial efforts.
Look at the disruptions as opportunities, be among the first to grab onto them, and prosper.