Humans in the Age of Artificial Intelligence: Why Real People Still Matter

Artificial intelligence promises to change virtually every aspect of our jobs and personal lives. Already, its influence is undeniable in healthcare, eCommerce, and many other industries. It holds huge implications for the economy at large, with experts at Gartner predicting that AI will add an astounding $13 trillion to the annual GDP by 2030.

In the excitement over AI (and the constant debate about its negatives), people often forget that a human element remains critical to technological success. Yes, machines will play a greater role in the economy of tomorrow, and yes, they may replace select jobs that humans currently perform—but people will still be critical to the success of AI. What’s more, highly trained professionals will be necessary, as it will take an elite level of knowledge to operate within a workforce dominated by machines.

It’s easy to see why so many people are asking: How will AI impact jobs? These concerns are valid, but mass unemployment is not, as the alarmists suggest, inevitable. To that end, we’ve highlighted a few of the many reasons why real people still matter in the age of AI.

Humans Still Excel at Innovation and Empathy

For all its number-crunching and analytic capabilities, AI still falls far short of humans in terms of sheer innovation. This stems, in part, from a greater ability to empathize with one another. This intuition allows people to anticipate the needs of other individuals far better than even the most advanced AI systems. Equipped with this innate understanding, humans can come up with creative solutions. These problem-solving efforts may incorporate AI to a greater degree in the future, but human intuition and creativity will remain as essential as ever.

Machines’ limited creativity stems not only from a lack of empathy but, also, from their focus on problem-solving over problem-finding. After all, problems often exist outside of the data pools in which machines are charged with operating. Humans, however, can draw upon a lifetime of experiences, with simple stimuli or compelling memories often leading to the most exciting breakthroughs.

Because innovation will play such a central role in human contributions to the AI economy, qualities such as creativity will be even more prioritized than they are today. Skilled professionals will understand not only how to operate advanced technology, but also, how to integrate original concepts that allow us to make the most of AI.

The Need for Governance

AI promises to deliver considerable savings by enabling impressive improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and scalability. At this point, however, it remains expensive to implement—and without sufficient oversight, elevated costs can continue. This, in turn, limits return on investment (ROI).

Hence, the need for AI governance, in which humans establish a framework for monitoring risks and biases within algorithms and processes. Governance increases the potential for meeting key performance indicators (KPIs) while limiting waste and addressing vulnerabilities.

A top consideration moving forward: integrating AI efforts with application development. Furthermore, ongoing oversight will be essential for addressing the common problem of model drift, in which the value of AI depreciates over time based on the failure to account for real-world changes.

While the potential for automated governance exists, this ability remains limited at present. Instead, venture capitalist Kenn So argues that a hands-on approach will be required for “managing processes and people to get the best results.” Comprehensive, actionable plans must be developed before AI initiatives are unleashed. This is particularly important for industries such as finance and healthcare, where seemingly minor problems can have a huge impact on real people.

Establishing Ethical Guidelines

It should be abundantly clear at this point that AI isn’t going anywhere. Its long-term impact on our economy and systems of government, however, remains to be seen. As such, even enthusiasts wonder: What are the negatives of artificial intelligence? While many have traditionally cited job loss as a concern, ethics may be the most relevant long-term issue.

Technological ethics can ensure that the power of AI is harnessed as we strive to solve problems we’ve struggled to tackle with humans alone. Without proper oversight, however, both public and private organizations may be lured to violate ethical standards we once held dear.

One of the greatest ethical AI concerns that calls for uniquely human capabilities is the potential for bias. This existed long before AI, of course, but can quickly be accelerated if programmed into algorithms. By nature, a single person or organization will have a limited worldview, which then influences AI systems. Dedicated efforts to spot and address such biases call for humans from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Bias and other ethical concerns will likely be tackled at the government level, although many private organizations are also currently addressing such issues while also using AI to achieve important objectives.

Already, this effort is evident at the federal level, with then Department of Defense emphasizing five key principles for the use of AI: responsible, equitable, traceable, reliable, and governable. As former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper explained, “AI technology will change much about the battlefield of the future, but nothing will change America’s steadfast commitment to responsible and lawful behavior.”

Likewise, Congress has established the National AI Initiative to “ensure the United States leads the world in the development and use of trustworthy AI in the public and private sectors.” These and other efforts call for input from highly trained individuals who understand not only the technical components of AI, but also, the philosophical underpinnings of this technology.

Fulfilling the Potential of AI with a Master’s Degree

The rise of AI may seem like a threat to some professionals, but ultimately, it promises to enhance the work experience. As SAP’s Timo Elliot tells Forbes, AI holds the potential to free workers from the drudgery that once dominated their jobs. Instead, AI-assisted work will call for a higher level of creativity and problem-solving, with every day presenting new challenges that keep professionals engaged.

Success in this new digital realm will require extensive training. This will involve everything from statistical programming to natural language processing. As such, a Master of Science in Computer Science or Data Science will represent the minimum requirement for the most promising tech jobs of tomorrow. Better yet: a concentration in Artificial Intelligence or Cyber Security, which addresses important niches that require elite skills.

If you hope to play a role in shaping how artificial intelligence influences our lives, you are an ideal candidate for an M.S. degree from Lewis University. This is your opportunity to gain an edge in an emerging industry that, although highly competitive, is bursting with potential. Equipped with your degree, advanced tech capabilities, and soft skills such as creativity, you will be unstoppable in the AI economy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *