Want to survive job automation? Don't think like a robot

Here's why coding skills alone won't save you from job automation.

The conventional wisdom developing in the face of job automation is to skill up: learn how to code, become a member of the rising tech economy. Venture capitalist Scott Hartley, however, thinks that may be counterproductive. "Just because you have rote technical ability, you may actually be more susceptible to job automation than someone who has flexible thinking skills," he says. Retraining yourself in tech-based areas is smart, but the smartest way to survive job automation is to develop your soft skills—like improvisation, relational intelligence, and critical thinking. Believe it or not, those 'softer' assets will rule in the digital age, so play to what makes you human. In time, everything else will be done by a robot. Scott Hartley is the author of The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World.

What it will take for AI to surpass human intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is already outsmarting us at '80s computer games by finding ways to beat games that developers didn't even know were there. Just wait until it figures out how to beat us in ways that matter.

Chances are, unless you happen to be in the Big Think office in Manhattan, that you're watching this on a computer or phone. Chances also are that the piece of machinery that you're looking at right now has the capability to outsmart you many times over in ways that you can barely comprehend. That's the beauty and the danger of AI — it's becoming smarter and smarter at a rate that we can't keep up with. Max Tegmark relays a great story about playing a game of Breakout with a computer (i.e. the game where you break bricks with a ball and bounce the ball off a paddle you move at the bottom of the screen). At first, the computer lost every game. But quickly it had figured out a way to bounce the ball off of a certain point in the screen to rack up a crazy amount of points. Change Breakout for, let's say, nuclear warheads or solving world hunger, and we've got a world changer on our hands. Or in the case of our computers and smartphones, in our hands. Max's latest book is Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Google's AI Learns Betrayal and "Aggressive" Actions Pay Off

Google's DeepMind artificial intelligence learns what it takes to win, making human-like choices in competitive situations.

Keep reading Show less

What Do a Robot's Dreams Look Like? Google Found Out

They may look odd, but it’s all part of Google’s plan to solve a huge issue in machine learning: recognizing objects in images.

Google's artificial neural networks produce some trippy images thanks to its Deep Dream program (photo credit: Michael Tyka/Google)

When Google asked its neural network to dream, the machine begin to generating some pretty wild images. They may look odd, but it’s all part of Google’s plan to solve a huge issue in machine learning: recognizing objects in images.

To be clear, Google’s software engineers didn’t ask a computer to dream, but they did ask its neural network to alter the images based on an original photo they fed into it, by applying layers. This was all part of their Deep Dream program.
 
The purpose was to make it better at finding patterns, which computers are none too good at. So, engineers started by “teaching” the neural network to recognize certain objects by giving it 1.2 million images, complete with object classifications the computer could understand.

These classifications allowed Google’s AI to learn to detect the different qualities of certain objects in an image, like a dog and a fork. But Google’s engineers wanted to go one step further, which is where Deep Dream comes in, which allowed the neural network to add those hallucinogenic qualities to images

Keep reading Show less

Listen to New Google AI Program Talk Like a Human and Write Music

Google's DeepMind creates AI that blows away existing speech synthesizers. 

Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind presented a deep neural network that generates amazingly human-like speech. Called WaveNet, this AI makes a significant advancement over existing speech synthesizers. What’s more, it can write pretty good classical music. 

Keep reading Show less