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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

We will always have creativity 

No matter how evolved artificial intelligence is, it is unlikely to develop the creative powers of human minds

Artificial Intelligence systems in action at the Museum of the Future Museum Tour at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai in 2016. Victor Besa / The National.
Artificial Intelligence systems in action at the Museum of the Future Museum Tour at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai in 2016. Victor Besa / The National.

Since the creation of the first computer, artificial intelligence has been a source of preoccupation for writers, intellectuals and scientists and… well, everyone. Through the various technological innovations of the 20th century, and the digital revolution of our century, several innovations have sparked the debate around the impact of artificial intelligence on our lives and on those of future generations.

Nowadays, the major debate when it comes to AI relates to its impact on several job categories and job losses incurred as people with certain skills are pushed out of their jobs. While this fear was previously limited to industry, it has now spread to touch other sectors of activity. Recently, the Dubai-based Mashreq bank revealed a plan to shed 10 per cent of its workforce after investing in AI. Though companies may find it cheaper to invest in robots when it comes to repetitive tasks, creative tasks are still the prerogative of human resources.

The dissemination of robotics will certainly restructure the economy, remould the job market and alter educational needs, as students will require higher skills upon entering the workplace. Decision-makers will have to develop policies to mitigate negative effects and their repercussion on the various sectors, reorienting reforms to match this evolution.

Famous sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov has always been at the forefront of the debate on AI and robotics, depicting the impact they have on human relations and the interaction between robots and humans. His Bicentennial Man, brought to the big screen in 1999, raised a crucial thought-provoking argument: AI is ever-evolving and may soon change the world as we know it. Always there to add its grain of salt in pivotal debates, Hollywood productions like The Matrix (1999), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), and Ex Machina (2015) gave us a seemingly realistic outlook on the future of AI.

But some of the fear over AI is probably overstated. It will take a long time to fine-tune the technology. The far greater challenge that many governments will have to address is how to restructure their revenue-generation and taxation models to account for those workers whose jobs are taken by artificial intelligence.

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