by Tricia Simon
Genesis chapter 1 verse 27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Question: What are we as humans with the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Are we gods creating other beings in our own image?
Today, Artificial Intelligence is said to be endowed with the “intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalise, or learn from past experience.” In this computer age this is done by deep learning which is a “machine learning technique that teaches computers to do what comes naturally to humans: learn by example.” Essentially, the computer learns similar to the way babies learn. It is said that we humans only use a small percentage of our brainpower but computers are able to far outpace that level. Computers using deep learning technology at present are able to surpass human intelligence, accuracy and skills and a whole host of characteristics that we as humans possess. The reality is that we are no longer the “smartest cookie on the planet”, for we have created a being in our own image which has surpassed us.
Now, what does this mean? We as humans are split in regards to artificial intelligence, some see a bright future where artificial intelligence would bring great benefits to humans, others see it as the end of humankind. The positives of artificial intelligence are immense and today are used in so many areas. Manufacturing, self-driving cars, medicine, financial investing, travel, social media and a host of other ways.
Covid-19 has ushered in a faster adoption of artificial intelligence. We humans entered the “great resignation” in 2021 due to Covid-19 for in the developed world humans decided they had enough of working and just walked off the jobs. This has resulted in the demand for workers and employers scrambling for employees. Quietly, artificial intelligence in the form of robotics has filled the void. The Los Angeles Times article stated, “As Covid-19 wanes, employers are accelerating the use of robots. Where does that leave workers?”
Governments paid stimulus packages to the citizenry to essentially remain at home as opposed to facing the risks of Covid-19. Workers became afraid of venturing out and so over several months chose to remain at home and accept the income.
The term “universal basic income” is being bandied about where we as humans would accept welfare from the government to simply exist. Who would pay for this? Sam Shead in CNBC stated that, “In as little as 10 years, AI could generate enough wealth to pay every adult in the US, $13,500 a year, Altman said in his 2,933 word piece called “Moore’s Law for Everything.” How are we humans supposed to live on that when rent in a city as San Francisco is on average US$2,950 a month for a one bedroom apartment?
A United Nations report stated, “The economic crisis caused by the Covid pandemic is expected to contribute to global unemployment of more than 200 million people next year, with women and youth workers worst-hit, UN labour experts said on Wednesday… The worst-affected regions in the first half of 2021 have been Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, all victims of uneven recovery.” The International Labour Organisation (ILO) stated, “We’ve gone backwards, we’ve gone backwards big time,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Working poverty is back to 2015 levels; that means that when the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda was set, we’re back to the starting line.”
I am confident that we as humans are resilient, we rise and fall, take our knocks but continue to rise and adapt. So, what do we do to overcome women and youth unemployment? We innovate and adapt to the times to meet the demand for the jobs of the future. Jobs that are Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) centred would be in strong demand.
It certainly takes a village to raise a child, so our youths are our future and need to be fully educated. Covid-19 has produced setbacks, but there are so many opportunities such as online learning. In Grenada, a universal tutoring programme can be developed where the older students teach the younger ones. This would also help to instill a sense of volunteerism and helping each other in our youths for nation-building. There is no reason why a Form 2 student would not be able to “adopt a student” and tutor a Form 1 student and so on, for we are our brother’s keeper. The older child having to help the younger child would obtain a better grasp of the subject area for in-order to teach, he/she needs to fully understand the material.
Tricia Simon is an Attorney-at-Law called to the bar in the State of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the Province of Ontario, Canada.