Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Preparing for Artificial Intelligence’s impact

Artificial intelligence was a hot topic in 2018 and will likely continue to dominate the future of technology and change the world radically. According to Fortune, AI has already shown its power in many fields such as healthcare, in which some important breakthroughs including medical image diagnosis and new medicine development happens thanks to AI.

However, much of AI technology today is still expensive and out of reach for much of the world’s population. One popular AI product is Tesla’s range of cars, which include the Autopilot feature that allows people to ride hands-free. However, that would be impossible to afford for the 3 billion people around the world that live on less than $2.50 a day, according to Do Something.org.  

Although many people may not actually use AI-based products currently, it doesn’t mean the AI will not impact their lives.  As predicted in the article of “The AI Revolution is On” from WIRED, AI is going to change every part of our world quickly and sharply. The change will be more significant and irreversible than other technology brought in the history according to NBC News THINK. To ensure a fair future for everyone around the world and avoid society stratification in the AI age, it is necessary to take steps right now.

The NBC News Think piece pointed out the potential serious consequences with using AI: many jobs will be taken away and goes on to claim that AI will be bad for the emotional health for the now jobless people and colleges will begin to close since employers no longer need to humans but will instead use robots. I believe that there are two ways to help resolve the problems that AI will bring. Both methods could be used to maximize that amount of jobs that are being created.

The first approach is to improve access to technology education for young generations, starting from today’s teens. While there have been many programming camps and robotics clubs across the country for middle and high school students, high schoolers can take it one step further by focusing specifically on machine learning. Current available programs include the AI4ALL initiative at top computer science universities such as Stanford and Carnegie Mellon which aims to make the AI field more diverse by including minorities. Through exposing AI to students at a young age, they will be better equipped to join the ever-growing AI workforce.

However, programming may not necessarily be for everyone. A second focus is to inspire future workers towards emerging jobs related to AI industry rather than directly programing. Although some jobs will be automated by AI, there are still many jobs requiring high amounts of creative intelligence are in demand. According to Forbes, the human brain has empathy and cognition, which will better serve consumers than AI.

One close example is the creation and manufacturing on generations of iPhones, iPads, iMacs, etc. Apple is regarded as one of the most high-tech companies of today and many automation technologies have been applied in its factories. It can credit a lot of its success to the great designers the companies has had. Starting from Steve Jobs, Apple has always brand itself as sleek and simple — thanks to the creativity from its designers. Similarly, AI based products in the future will also require a lot of creative intelligence, which can come from humans rather than an algorithm.

There are definitely some hurdles to using Artificial Intelligence. By having robots learn and adapt like humans do, they are poised to take many jobs humans do. Tasks like self-driving cars are already being worked on. Without jobs, even more people around the world would fall into poverty. But by inspiring and preparing people in right direction, we will have bright future in the AI world.