Will Robots Actually Take Your Job?

Should we ready ourselves for a world where algorithms replace instincts and there are more robots than workers? Includes interviews with CEO of Hays plc, VP EMEA of LinkedIn and CEO of Luminance AI.

Originally published in a special report in The Times on 04 December 2016.
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Listen to the teams from IBM Watson, Google DeepMind or Facebook AI Research and you could be forgiven for thinking you’re sitting front and centre in the prequel to Sarah Connor’s nightmares played out in The Terminator series or the beginnings of a journey to an encounter with HAL 9000 of Arthur C. Clarke’s prescient 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Contributors to Wikipedia innocently define cognitive computing as the creation of “hardware and/or software that mimics the functioning of the human brain and helps to improve human decision-making”. While today’s tech visionaries will point to the potentially limitless benefits from advancing the human cause, it seems we’re inherently more interested in the darker side of these advances, thanks in no small part to Hollywood.

Start typing “will robots” into Google and you’ll receive the following auto-complete suggestions: “take over the world”, “replace humans”, “take our jobs”, “take my job” and “replace doctors”. Or try typing “will artificial intelligence” into the ubiquitous search engine and your suggested sentence completions will include “replace programmers”, “replace doctors”, “replace humans” and, disturbingly, “kill us”.

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