One of the most interesting debates that have come to prominence recently because of rapid technological innovation is whether the technology invented has the ability to replace its very creators. The job industry has come very far today with industrial machinery and online applications that have replaced the need for human labour. For instance, assembly line work has been replaced by machines, customer service has adapted to automated response systems, and even banking has shifted to online means. The need for humans to do certain tasks in this day and age has objectively been reduced. However, the larger question still remains: will robots completely diminish the need for humans in the workforce at all?
I believe robots will not replace humans because automation in the workforce complements human skill causing the job market to evolve into something that values furthering knowledge rather than focusing on algorithmic tasks that a robot can even do. First of all, robots are mere information processing machines and do not carry the same skill sets as humans. Secondly, the jobs that do get taken by robots will allow humans to move on to more productive things that value creativity and problem solving, forcing the job market to expand. Lastly, robots cannot create new knowledge and only work off of what has already been created by humans.
Limitations of robots
First of all, the greatest setback that robots experience in taking over our jobs is that they are mere information processing machines that lack specific human skills. One of the most notable aspects of being a human is that we are versatile creatures with complicated neural development. Humans have skills such as empathy, curiosity and imagination which are qualities that are not proven to be in robots up to this day. One of the biggest indicators of this fact is the smartest language model in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to exist today called GPT-3. The development of GPT-3 has made it the fastest learning robot to exist thus far which can write essays, poems and even create code out of a description of any program. It was trained using 45TB of text datasets and carries 175 billion parameters making it the most intelligent machine to exist. However, despite its convincing abilities, it still failed the Turing test. The Turing test is a test proposed by British Mathematician Alan Turing which determines that if an interviewer cannot distinguish whether they are talking to a robot or a human, the robot can be considered to exhibit intelligent behaviour. So in simpler words, if a person cannot tell a robot apart from a person, the robot is considered to pass the Turing test. Even the smartest language model, GPT-3 ended up failing this test simply because it lacked the most mundane human characteristic, common sense. This is fascinating because the jobs that rely on the comprehensive abilities of humans cannot be replaced with automation. The ability for a job to be automated relies on how predictable it is for it to be easily replicated by robots. If a job has a lower rate of predictability, it will be more difficult for it to be replaced. For instance, the technical feasibility of automating activities that involve operating machinery in a predictable environment is the highest at 78%. Jobs in this category include assembly line work, food preparation and packaging. On the contrary, the technical feasibility of unpredictable labour such as construction, farming, and raising animals is 25%. It can be seen that jobs which require more human skill such as instinct, adaptability and common sense are harder to replace with machines as opposed to jobs that require less mental effort. The new jobs that will be created are going to challenge the intelligence of humans and allow us to exert our energy in mental rather than physical labour which leads me to my next point.
Encouraging human creativity
The jobs that do get replaced by automation will only allow humans to exert their mental energy on productive things that value creativity and problem solving, ultimately allowing the job market to expand. The job market has a big impact on what the potential employees prioritise and value in their life. If the hiring requirements of a job rely on redundant work with a lack of expectation for other skills, the employees will most likely adapt to that low mental effort and fail to live to their potential. It can be argued that assembly line work should be replaced by robots so that humans can move on to jobs that are more meaningful to them. Automation, by removing routine work, actually makes jobs more human, enabling the role and contribution of people in work to rise in importance and value. The real purpose of AI in the workforce is going to be to augment it and reframe human work so that it can ultimately allow us to embrace the qualities we have that cannot be found in robots. The only condition for humans to still be active contributors in the job market is for organisations to value knowledge over tedious redundant tasks. This presents as a productive trade-off when tedious jobs do get replaced since the knowledge and capability gaps are simultaneously being reduced.
Irreplaceable strengths of humanity
Furthermore, the most productive quality of humans is the inclination towards discovering knowledge and constructing theories to make sense of the world. A lack of this quality is the greatest downfall for AI. Robots are simply algorithms coded for a certain purpose. They cannot create knowledge, present theories, or find solutions to specific problems. For instance, GPT-3, the smartest language model only used pre-existing human knowledge from databases and the internet to learn all it knew but still fell short for the Turing Test. Taking into consideration what robots are good at, we can find them a place in the workforce which does not interfere with jobs necessary for human sustenance. The goal is to create systems that let humans combine what they are good at — asking the right questions and interpreting the results — with what machines are good at: computation, analysis, and statistics using large datasets. Combining the strengths of robots with the strengths of humans will allow automation to help us in the workplace rather than make us paranoid about losing our jobs. It will create efficiency in organisations without increasing unemployment or losing profits. It is crucial to understand that robots can interpret and learn things but can never beat the ultimate human mind. Furthermore, human intervention will always be required for the maintenance of those very robots since they have no ability to reflect, or self-modify. The greatest advantage of the human yearning for knowledge is that it always allows us to find new methods of earning profit through innovation, thus allowing the job market to continuously expand. Robots can never dominate the workforce because they cannot present ideas, nor do they have any creativity. Humans are the ones who even invented the need for jobs which always gives them the upper hand.
Robots are therefore unlikely to replace humans because our creative ability will always allow us to use them for our advantage instead of leading to our downfall. The purpose of automation will be to serve us which is possible because of major setbacks in AI due to their lack of human skill. The less challenging labour that does get replaced is beneficial because it allows humans to achieve more in terms of intelligence through mental challenges. The way that humans are able to invent systems, institutions and structures to maintain civilizations is something robots cannot do.
SumOfUs’s Researcher’s Avatar Sexually Assaulted in Horizon World’s Game
- In Meta’s virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds, the avatar of a 21-year old SumOfUs researcher was sexually assaulted.
- Meta confirms that it has set up safety tools in Horizon Worlds in order to prevent negative experiences, especially since there were earlier reports of virtual assaults and inappropriate behavior in February.
- One of the safeguards introduced was Personal Boundary, which prevents any avatars from coming within a set distance of 4 feet of each other in order to respect the avatar’s personal space. The company also offers other ways in order to block and report users as well.
- Nevertheless, SumOfUS reported that the researcher was “encouraged” to disable the Personal Boundary feature, and was approached by 2 male avatars in a room, one of whom was observing and the other got fairly close to her. She also witnessed lewd comments, homophobic slurs, and virtual gun violence.
- SumOfUs has filed a resolution with some of the shareholders, requesting a risk assessment of the human rights impacts in the metaverse. A shareholder meeting is set to be held on Wednesday.
- SumOfUs’s campaigns director Vicky Wyatt stated, “Let’s not repeat and replicate [real-world issues] in the metaverse. We need a better plan here on how to mitigate online harms in the metaverse”.
Digital Authoritarianism – A Growing Challenge to The World Press Freedom
Press and electronic media have been an active source of propagation of the discourse be it political, social, or religious. They make it easier for a piece of information to reach the common masses and thus it is crucial for the governments to control them to keep insuring the creation of “us” and “them” division in the society. But this control has become a challenge for a free and independent press. Digital authoritarianism, cyber surveillance, and monitoring of political and social activities of people through media have made it difficult for the people of the present age and time to have freely expressed their opinion and easier for the governments to control the information.
While China has been controlling the influx of information and the regulation of ideologies in the country through a great fire, Other countries are joining in too with their measure to increase cyber-surveillance. Internet shutdowns are one of the tools for asserting digital authoritarianism and according to a survey conducted by a non-profit digital rights organization Access now, the year 2021 experienced 182 events of Internet shutdowns around the world.
The shutdowns measures were taken to contribute to the growing political tensions in the respective regions for example, during the coup in Maynmar, and to influence the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe, specifically Russia. Similarly, while Africa experienced an epidemic of coups in the year 2021, the number of internet shutdowns reached 19.
India which claims to be the “world’s largest democracy” imposed an internet shutdown more than a hundred times in the year 2021 and more than half of them were on the already repressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.
While Russia became the only country in Europe to impose an internet shutdown in 2021, in the year 2022, the Russia and Ukraine war has forced other EU countries to ban the access to Russia Today, Sputnik other information sites regulated by Russia calling it a measure against “the war propaganda.” Similarly, since the beginning of the conflict, Russia has imposed new internet laws in the country to monitor the spread of news restricting the use of global applications like Instagram and Facebook.
The more recent rerouting of the internet traffic of occupied Ukrainian regions to be redirected through Russian cyber routes. Netblocks, an internet observatory, noted that: “Connectivity on the network has been routed via Russia’s internet instead of Ukrainian telecoms infrastructure and is hence likely now subject to Russian internet regulations, surveillance, and censorship.”
However, while countries around the world are being exposed to exerting digital dominance, and being accused to collect user data for their own benefit, it is becoming a challenge for them to create “democracy-affirming technologies” to combat the digital authoritarianism that has been challenging the world’s press freedom around the world.
Sexualized Child Images “Meet Community Guidelines” on Instagram
Instagram has come under a lot of heat, and rightly so, for not removing accounts that showed pictures of children in swimwear or partial clothing attracting loads of sexualized comments even after such accounts were reported via the in-app reporting tool.
The above-mentioned tool allows users to flag accounts that have suspicious activity which is then reviewed by the system’s automated moderation technology, which in this case ruled such concerning accounts as “acceptable” and conforming to “community guidelines” resulting in such accounts remaining live.
An independent researcher challenged this and reported one such concerning account to Instagram using the in-app reporting tool, only to be met with a response tagged with a phrase many of us a too familiar with i.e., “due to the high volume of reports” submitted it can not view the report but the “(automated) technology has found that this account probably doesn’t go against our community guidelines”. The said account, with more than 33,000 followers remained live the whole day.
All this while Instagram’s parent company, Meta, as do other social media companies claims an approach that has zero tolerance towards child exploitation – claims that remain unsubstantiated by their actions/policies.
Instagram is not alone in failing to effectively handle this issue. Twitter has many similar accounts often known as “tribute pages”. This is evident from the example of this one account which was ruled not to be breaking twitter’s rules after being reported through the in-app reporting tool despite posting pictures of a man performing sexual acts with images of a 14-year-old TikTok underage influencer. Other tweets from the same account reading “looking to trade some younger stuff” were also seemingly not concerning enough, until it was publicly called out by a campaign group ‘Collective Shout’ at which point the account was taken down.
Should such accounts suspicious of illegal activity and clearly harmful be allowed to remain live only because they do not meet a criminal threshold, yet?
Are “Zero tolerance” claims consistent with companies allowing the content that is a threat to children to remain live despite being reported, let alone proactively moderate content?
Should the social media companies be relying on automated detections for preventing the serious risk of sexualization, harassment and exploitation of our children when such technologies have been known to have failed miserably for even keeping up with simple hate speech?
Tired of Carrying a Wallet? Have Your Credit Card Microchipped Under Your Skin
Walletmor, a British-Polish startup, claims to have created the first implantable microchip that can be used at any contactless payment machine around the world. Walletmor has sold over 500 microchips that are slightly bigger than a grain of rice and weigh less than one gram. Each microchip goes for £199 and can be sewn in by professionals at any aesthetics clinic.
Walletmor claims that the microchip is entirely safe and has received regulatory approval. Once implanted, the microchip is ready to use and will not shift from its place. The microchip requires no batteries or an external power source to function. The implantable capsule is made of biocompatible material and consists of a microprocessor for storing encrypted payment data and a proximity antenna to connect to nearby payment terminals.
The founder of Walletmor, Wojciech Paprota claims that the microchips are impossible to hack stating, “our payment implant cannot be forgotten or lost. This means that, unlike a standard payment card, it cannot end up in the wrong hands. It will not fall out of our wallet, and no one will take it from there. The implant cannot be scanned, photographed or hacked.”
At the moment, the microchip connects to a mobile app called ICard, where a user can refill funds for contactless payments.
Paprota believes that credit card implants will one day be as popular as regular payment cards and that Walletmor’s long-term goal is to provide more functionalities to their chip such as identification and key card access capabilities.
But before microchip implants can be widely accepted, Paprota and other emerging microchip-based companies must first assure citizens of their safety. Though implanted microchips are convenient for day-to-day tasks, many fear that as technology continues to advance, a person’s data and specific location can potentially be hacked causing safety concerns.
Nada Kakabadse, a Professor of Ethics at Reading University questioned the ethics behind getting microchips implanted. Kakabadse stated, “there is a dark side to the technology that has a potential for abuse…to those with no love of individual freedom, it opens up seductive new vistas for control, manipulation and oppression.. And who owns the data? Who has access to the data? And, is it ethical to chip people like we do pets?”
So the question arises, how much are we willing to risk for the sake of convenience?
Born and raised in the Bay Area, California, Faiza is a mother of two with a degree in Psychology and Paralegal Studies. She is passionate about lending her voice to those who are disadvantaged.
Elon Musk is now the largest shareholder in Twitter￼
Tesla founder Elon Musk has become the largest shareholder in Twitter. His shares are four times greater than that of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.
Elon Musk has purchased 9.2% shares equating 73.5 million shares in the social network. His shares are a passive stake but news that he has become the largest shareholder in the company caused a surge in Twitter share price. His stake is now worth more than $3bn.
Parag Agrawal, CEO of Twitter, tweeted on Tuesday “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.”
Elon is running a poll on twitter about the edit button, which will be helpful for twitter users to edit mistakes but some, including Jack Dorsey, have rejected the idea because people can change the meaning of what they have said, after they have shared it.
Dan Ives, from analyst firm Wedbush said that Elon will soon go for an active role in company management.
He said, “We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,”.
This is supported by the reports of the Wall Street Journal that his application to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which should have a line saying he doesn’t intend to influence the company, had a ‘Not Applicable’ mark.
There is an issue reported about his investment in twitter. He filed his investment on 14th of March and after filing and before it became public knowledge, he asked users whether they believed that free speech was essential to a functioning democracy and whether Twitter adheres to this principle.
Cornell University’s assistant professor Alexandra Cirone considers this as an evidence he may “try to influence Twitter practices” and have a “more active play in the social media eco-system”.
On the other hand, Howard Fischer, partner at law firm Moses & Singer, said that considering he had bought the share already, “I do suspect the SEC is going to look long and hard into whether they can bring manipulation charges”.
Elon Musk is a regular user of twitter, whether he uses his influence to establish free speech or market manipulation, twitter users will find out soon.
Is Technology Making Children Grow Up Faster?￼
- Research has found that children’s exposure to technology may allow for them to be more intellectually savvy at a younger age, however it is seen to also push ‘maturity’ milestones to an older age.
- Despite this supposed maturity, the younger generations seem to delay many adult milestones such as dating, drinking, engaging in intimate relations, and driving unlike previous generations.
- With all things kept in mind, studies find that children are not growing up faster in terms of society, culture, or biology.
Research has found that children’s exposure to technology may allow for them to be more intellectually savvy at a younger age, however it is seen to also push ‘maturity’ milestones to an older age. The advent of smartphones, tablets, and other such electronics has put the world’s knowledge into the palms of children at a younger age than ever seen before. With most parents buying their child a smartphone at age 10, it is no question that the newer generation has practically unlimited access to news, social media, games, and the like.
Marketing geared towards kids is not new and the concept of “kids getting older younger” (KGOY) is one used by companies constantly to raise revenues. Games such as Roblox have capitalized on such ideas and the effects are clear. Speaking to strangers and having open access to the internet is pulling children towards emotional maturity.
Despite this supposed maturity, the younger generation seems to delay in many adult milestones such as dating, drinking, engaging in intimate relations, and driving, unlike previous generations. any experts argue that this view is skewed, including senior Vice President and Director of the Center for Children and Technology, Shelley Pasnik. Pasnik stated “The basic stages of children’s development aren’t changing…what has changed is [kids’] exposure to information.”
Experts in sociology also warn that technology alone is not shaping children and their maturity. Confounding variables found in much more intensive parenting styles will also reflect on the youth. With all things kept in mind studies find that children are not growing up faster in terms of society, culture, or biology. Rather a view of what constitutes a ‘grown-up’ may be skewed in society.
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