[Enquête] Will artificial intelligence put us all out of work?

Will artificial intelligence cause an unprecedented wave of unemployment? What will be the real impact of automation on employment, in France and in the world? What are the solutions to avoid the catastrophe? Discover the answers to these questions through our complete survey…

In the past, each industrial revolution has changed the world of work. With each technological disruption, companies seek to exploit technical advances to increase productivity and profit.

After electricity, the wheel and the steam engine, artificial intelligence is about to transform employment. By assisting or even replacing humans in various tasks, the machine makes it possible to gain in productivity and to make savings.

If AI can already replace humans on manual tasks and repetitive tasks, it will soon be able to surpass him on the most complex and intellectual tasks. It is only a matter of time.

It all started in 1978, with the first duel between the human and the machine. It was at that time that the supercomputer IBM Deep Blue defeated the world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Twenty years later, Alphago defeated the best Go player, Ke Jie. If Deep Blue won only thanks to its computing power and its database, AlphaGo also has a self-learning faculty.

Sooner or later, AI will surpass humans in all fields. This phenomenon is inexorable. The question is, what will be the concrete impact of this technology on work, and how can we deal with it?

Table of Contents

A look back at previous industrial revolutions

In order to better anticipate the disruptions caused by AI, it is interesting to go back to the previous industrial revolutions. This parallel allows us to understand how this transformation is taking place.

The first industrial revolution was initiated by the steam engine, and took place between 1760 and 1830. The second one is linked to the appearance of electricity between 1870 and 1914. Traditional production was replaced by the automation of modern manufacturing processes, such as the assembly line. As a result of these major changes, the amount of production literally exploded and thousands of low-skilled workers were able to enter the job market.

Subsequently, new technologies such as computers have initiated the third industrial revolution. While the steam engine and electricity allowed access to employment for minimal qualifications, the new technologies have instead placed barriers to employment through qualification.

Nevertheless, artificial intelligence could bring an upheaval far exceeding that of previous industrial revolutions. According to PWC, this technology will generate $15.7 trillion in the global economy by 2030.

This is related to the speed of implementation of solutionsthat can be replicated almost free of charge as soon as their development is completed. And this, without any shipping or remanufacturing constraints. Moreover, the rate of investment in disruptive innovation is massive, because it is risky, but extremely lucrative.

Just like computer technologies, AI risks depriving a workforce low- or medium-skilled workforce from finding employment. A whole mass of young people may find themselves in the same impasse.

Will artificial intelligence destroy jobs?

Intelligence is developing at a breakneck speed, and gradually invites itself in all the sectors. This technology is proving to be of great help to companies. For example, it enables better decisions to be made, especially through predictive data analysis.

However, AI also enables automation. Machines are now advanced enough to perform the simplest and most boring tasks. As a result, the usefulness of many roles and jobs that were previously reserved for humans is being questioned. According to a McKinsey study, 60% of jobs could be automated in the near future.

Over the next few years, AI will continue to evolve. It will become more efficient, and will be able to perform increasingly complex tasks. Eventually, even the most complex and skilled jobs could be automated.

From then on, a question arises: Will artificial intelligence destroy jobs?

AI assists humans in all sectors

Let’s take the example of Watson, the artificial intelligence developed by IBM. This AI is able to answer questions in natural language. In 2011, it even beat the best candidates of the show “Jeopardy”, the American equivalent of “Questions for a Champion”.

From many companies have adopted Watson. In France, this is notably the case for Crédit Mutuel, Orange Bank and Generali. For five years now, this AI has been supporting 25,000 advisors in over 5,000 Crédit Mutuel and CIC branches.

The company has invested 40 million euros over five years. The machine processes 300,000 customer requests per day, and issues response recommendations.

In addition, Watson is able to help search for information in the bank’s document database via a natural language interface. Each of its suggestions is evaluated by the human advisor, who applies a green or red click. Over time, Watson continuously learns to improve its reliability.

For the moment, Watson is content with to assist the human employees without replacing them. According to Claude Bailer, president of the SNB CFE-CGC section, “the program has no impact on employment. And it should save fifteen to twenty minutes a day for the advisers, which is appreciable.

However, Crédit Mutuel admits to remaining “vigilant in the medium term”. In total, Watson will free up the equivalent of 200,000 days of human labor over five years. This is equivalent to one year of work for 1000 employeesand represents a saving of 60 million euros.

For the time being, AI is mainly perceived as an assistant for the expert. At the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics, virtual agents are developed to coach and help elderly people in their daily life. However, they do not replace the human and only provide useful information on lifestyle or food. These companions help the elderly, but must intervene in addition to a human.

By leaving repetitive tasks to machines, humans could potentially concentrate on more “rewarding” activities . For example, the animation studio TeamTO is investing in its R&D department. It develops AI tools for production optimization, to allow animators to focus on creative tasks with high added value. Similarly, doctors and lawyers can be assisted by bibliographic research software and focus on more interesting tasks.

A accountant can use an AI tool to automatically interpret invoices and enter them into computer software. A photographer can turn to AI software to automatically correct shots taken at an event. In these different cases, AI does not replace the human. It simply supports them.

According to McKinsey, artificial intelligence should contribute to 1.2% to global GDP each year until 2030. Similarly, Accenture considers that AI will enable an increase in productivity of up to 38% in some countries.

Towards the automation of work

However, other struggling companies go further and choose to use Watson to eliminate jobs rather than as a simple business support tool. Examples include the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Japanese insurer Fukoku.

Or, IBM Watson remains a relatively “weak” artificial intelligence . It is unable to decode implicit knowledge, hidden or figurative meanings. Its field of action is limited to very precise tasks, for which it has been explicitly programmed.

He is not a general artificial intelligenceIt is not a general artificial intelligence, conscious of itself, and capable of learning to perform new tasks in a fully autonomous way. Such an AI does not exist yet, and should not see the light of day for several years despite recent major advances.

Despite the current limitations of AI, it occupies an ever more important role in many sectors. In law firms, for example, the drafting of standardized documents is automated.

Artificial intelligence can also review thousands of resumes per second in the Human Resources field. Automation is also making its way into trading. In another example, a U.S. hospital has adopted IBM Watson to help oncologists diagnose and treat patients more quickly.

As AI continues to grow, it could well jeopardize many jobs in the near future. According to Erwann Tison, an economist at the think tank Institut Sapiens, ” a job is considered threatened when 70% of the associated tasks can be automated ” . Without going that far, many trades will be profoundly transformed.

Some will respond that this is nothing new, and that technology has always impacted the world of employment. However, the main difference with previous industrial revolutions is that AI will not impact not just the lowest-skilled jobs.

Artificial intelligence also strongly impacts the hiring process. Already at the present time, 75% of resumes are automatically rejected by an AI system before a human even lists them.

As of 2018, 67% of HR managers said AI was simplifying the hiring process. However, Many fear that this technology will amplify discrimination. For example, the startup HireVue has stopped using facial recognition because of potential bias. It is now focusing on audio analysis and natural language processing.

Which jobs will be taken over by AI? The predictions

Trying to predict the overall impact of AI on employment, economists have differing opinions. In 2013, an Oxford study predicted 47% job destruction in the United States. In 2019, the OECD predicted 14% job destruction in the next 15 to 20 years and 16.4% in France.

For its part, the French Conseil d’orientation de l’emploi (COE) anticipates 10% of vulnerable jobs in France. Similarly, 50% of jobs could be significantly impacted without disappearing.

In the short term, the least skilled occupations with repetitive and easily automated tasks are the most threatened by AI. According to the report by Cédric Villania mathematician and member of parliament for the Essonne region, the jobs of unskilled workers in the process industries, handling, building finishing, mechanics, maintenance workers and cashiers will be the first to be replaced by machines.

According to the Forbes Technology Council, 13 sectors are particularly at risk including warehouse and factory positions, insurance, customer service, truck driving, or “any task that can be learned” …

There are also simulators allowing to verify if his job is threatened. We can quote ” willrobotstakemyjob.com ” and ” révolution-robot.fr ” . This French platform evaluates the risk of disappearance of 242 jobs. Different criteria are taken into account, such as arduousness, attractiveness, complexity, need for human relations, average salary and number of jobs.

Based on these criteria, even the roles of doctor or lawyer are not immune to AI. Similarly, accountants or internal auditors may be replaced in the imminent future.

The disappearance seems even closer for handlers, office secretaries, bank and insurance employees or cashiers. The number of employees in these occupations has already been declining for 30 years, and AI will put the knife in the wound.

How long before the trades are replaced?

In order to know when the trades will become obsoleteresearchers from Oxford University have interviewed the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence. Their goal is to find out when machines will surpass humans in different professions.

The study was led by Katja Grace of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. In total, the team collected responses from 352 academics and industry experts machine learning. Subsequently, the median of the responses was calculated to obtain concrete numbers.

According to the results of this survey, AIs should outperform humans in language translation by 2024. They should be able to write high school essays by 2026, and even top 40 songs by 2028.

By 2027, the AI would be able to drive trucks autonomously. However, the truck driving profession could be automated even sooner thanks to the rapid and constant innovations of companies like Tesla.

L’AI could also invite itself in our homes. As early as 2022, it could excel at doing household chores like folding laundry. Further into the future, in 2031, AI could pilot machines in stores.

In 2049, AI could write the New York Times bestsellers. It could even perform surgery in 2053. In general, AI should surpass humans in all or almost all fields in 45 years.

According to the MIT Technology Review, these predictions tend to come true sooner than expected. For example, AI was not supposed to beat humans at Go until 2027. However, this happened in 2015. It took Alphabet DeepMind only two years to develop a technology capable of triumphing at this Chinese board game instead of the expected 12 years.

However, very long-term predictions are uncertain, as technology will evolve a lot in the next 40 years. Note that predictions differ according to the regions of the world. For example, Asian researchers expect AI to surpass humans in 30 years, while North American researchers predict 74 years. Full automation of work, however, is expected to occur in less than 125 years.

The risks of automation to be put into perspective

Contrary to what one might think, the automation of jobs will not lead to not necessarily lead to mass unemployment. Despite increasing automation in OECD countries, employment in all occupations increased by 12% between 2012 and 2019.

The countries most at risk from global automation in 2012 were ultimately experienced stronger growth employment between 2012 and 2019. So for now, automation has not caused mass unemployment.

According to economists, automation actually promotes productivity in almost all trades. It therefore generates a drop in the price of goods and services, stimulating markets and ultimately encouraging employment.

According to a study published in 2021 by MIT, AI will have a predominantly positive impact by stimulating innovation and job creation. It will not be able to replace the generalist intelligence of the human being, in particular the abstract thinking and the critical spirit which will remain important in companies.

L’AI is also limited by technical constraints. Machine learning requires immense amounts of data, also involving privacy and security issues. Training a single state-of-the-art AI model costs several million dollars in electricity. It is therefore highly unlikely that AI will catch up with the human brain in the near future.

Nevertheless, it is true that the risk of automation hinders the development of employment. In 2018, the OECD estimated that 14% of jobs were at high risk of automation. This threat particularly affects occupations in manufacturing and agriculture, or certain services such as logistics, ground transportation and food services.

Yet despite overall job growth between 2012 and 2019, employment grew at a slower rate of Only 6% in high-risk occupations. In comparison, low-risk occupations increased by 18%.

There is also evidence of a difference between the OECD countries. While Norway has only 6.5% of jobs with high automation risk, Slovakia has 34.6%.

In any case, the OECD points out that the impact of AI should be observed through the prism of the transformation rather than that of job destruction. Most often, its adoption in companies leads to a redeployment of employees from one task to another.

Rather than simply eliminating jobs, companies should focus on redefining the associated activities. According to the OECD, this question of reorganization must be put at the center of the debate.

Which jobs are safe from AI?

There are occupations that are less exposed to work automation. According to Kai-Fu Lee, many occupations remain unaffected from obsolescence.

This is the case of roles requiring creativity, conceptualization, comprehensive strategic planning management, precise hand-eye coordination, interaction with unfamiliar or unstructured spaces, sensations or empathy and compassion.

The expert cites the following as examples psychiatry, physical therapy, medical care, AI research and engineering, education, criminal defense, computer science, science, management, and fiction writing.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many occupations impacted by AI could grow at Above-average speed in the short term. Accountants, forensic scientists, geological technicians, technical writers, MRI operators, dieticians, financial specialists, web developers, medical secretaries or customer service representatives could get a second wind through AI.

Creative destruction: will AI create jobs?

Artificial intelligence is likely to spell the end of many jobs. However, in return, new jobs could be created.

The AI professions

Already today, the deployment of AI in the economy is generating new needs for IT specialists and mathematics. In 2018, Airbus recruited 250 people in digital professions including roles as artificial intelligence engineers or Machine Learning experts. Digitalization and artificial intelligence are having a profound impact on robotics, maintenance, industrial architecture or automation.

According to Pascal Bianchi, professor and researcher in statistics and optimization at Télécom Paristech, ” AI is a groundswell that is causing a very profound change in jobs and skills ” . All sectors will have need artificial intelligence specialists Transportation, health, energy, banking, insurance…

Thus, this technology also represents a source of opportunities with a broader spectrum of employment opportunities for graduates. The profiles sought are highly qualified experts, capable of programming and developing algorithms. The profiles of Data Scientists are sought by all public organizations, large companies and startups to make predictions.

Among the main jobs in artificial intelligence, there are the artificial intelligence engineer. His role is to design computer programs that imitate human thinking. He is both a researcher and a computer scientist, and must analyze the functioning of the human brain on a specific problem in order to reproduce it at the software level.

This specialist can work in a large company, a research center or a startup. His/her fields of activity can range from computer science to armaments, including industrial production and a wide variety of sectors. The average salary is around 30 000 euros per year at the beginning of the careerbut can quickly double.

Towards the emergence of new professions

Beyond the current trades, AI will also create new professions. Already in 2016, a report from the Davos Economic Forum predicted that 65% of children currently entering elementary school would be in a profession that does not yet exist.

Similarly, Dell and the think tank “Institute of the Future” published a study suggesting a transformation of the professional field through robotization and artificial intelligence. Among the jobs of 2030, 85% would not yet exist currently.

According to several studies, the destruction of jobs by AI would be compensated by the massive creation of new jobs. This is what the experts at Accenture or McKinsey predict.

According to the World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs” 2020 report, artificial intelligence will replace 85 million jobs by 2025. However, according to the same source, it will create 97 million jobs over the same period.

A decade ago, the first iPhone allowed the appearance of new professions such as mobile application developers or those responsible for monetizing online games. In turn, AI will allow the emergence of new professions.

In particular, artificial intelligence requires professionals capable of feeding it with data, maintaining it, and remedying any technical problems. From New jobs linked to AI will be created and develop, even if a large part of these tasks could in turn be automated.

According to a 2019 New York Times article, AI researchers hope to succeed in creating systems that can learn from smaller volumes of data. However, in the short term, human labor remains essential.

Employees’ views on artificial intelligence

According to a study released on January 18, 2022 by the Boston Consulting Group, employees whose companies have already adopted artificial intelligence generally a positive image of this technology.

Of the employees surveyed, 54% report that AI has had a positive impact on their well-being at work. Only 15% answer the opposite.

Looking ahead to the next five years, two-thirds of employees believe that AI will have Positive impact on well-being at work and professional development. It could relieve them of tedious and time-consuming tasks. For three quarters of employees, AI will improve the quality of their work.

However, employees are wary and point out three risks related to AI. More than three quarters fear that AI will make it possible to monitor everything in the company. The second risk denounced is the dehumanization of work. Finally, two thirds of employees fear that AI will eliminate jobs.

On the other hand, business leaders don’t see things in the same light. Half of them believe that the use of data could increase their company’s revenue by at least 5%.

Nearly 60% of them expect investments to increase in artificial intelligence compared to 2021. On this point, everyone seems to agree. Three quarters of employees, especially in large groups, believe that their companies should start adopting this technology urgently.

The impact of AI on U.S. employment

In the United States at the beginning of the 21st century, the rise of personal computers, automated call centers, and industrial machines created more than 50 million new jobs. However, this production explosion has also exacerbated inequalities.

The wealth gap has widened, mass unemployment hit rural communitiesand education has become almost indispensable for professional opportunities. In particular, the advent of digital technologies has heavily affected workers. Many have been forced to retrain in the service industry, for much lower wages.

Unfortunately, artificial intelligence is likely to widen this social divide. According to Gartner, AI usage in the enterprise has increased by 270% between 2015 and 2019. This technology will put an additional burden on rural residents, and impact all different industries.

According to the predictions of analyststhe sectors expected to grow rapidly over the next decade will all require a high level of education. According to Brookings Metro, jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher will see only a 29% change due to automation.

Sectors like healthcare, science, or technology will only see 34% automation, and will see a 3.8% growth in job openings. AI-related occupations, meanwhile, could take a larger share of the economy and enjoy high wages. According to one economist, AI-related changes could lead to a $3.7 trillion increase in GNP for North America by 2030. These economic benefits will not be distributed equitably, however, and rural communities will bear the brunt of the disadvantages.

If the previous industrial revolutions have generally spared “white collar” and service industry jobs from automation, AI will change that. The occupations most at risk of automation by AI are secretarial roles and food services. Yet they make up a larger portion of the economy in rural areas.

As in Europe, it is the responsibility of politicians to take action appropriate measures. The data compiled by Economic Modeling Specialists International can be used by local communities to best guide the retraining of displaced workers.

A robust federal education policy and the economy could also mitigate the impact of this labor market transformation. In particular, it is important to turn around the U.S. education system in the area of science and technology, ranked 36th out of 79 countries in the latest PISA rankings for mathematics. Introducing computer code and statistics into the school curriculum could be very beneficial.

Economists like Laura Tyson suggest that a raising the minimum wage and lowering taxes on income could balance the wage inequality caused by automation and job losses. Increasing economic mobility in rural areas would also be necessary. Others recommend a tax credit to encourage firms to invest in training for their least skilled employees.

A more pessimistic Western vision

According to an Ipsos barometer for the World Economic Forum in Davos dated January 2022, developed Western countries have a more pessimistic view on AI than emerging countries.

According to this survey conducted in 28 countries, the Chinese are the most optimistic people about AI. Of the nationals surveyed, 78% believe that this technology will bring “more benefits than drawbacks” .

The Saudis are the second most enthusiastic peoplewith 76% seeing more benefits. Then come the Indians at 71% and the Peruvians at 70%.

On the contrary, people from Western countries are the most pessimistic. Among the French, only 31% see more advantages than disadvantages to AI. They are only 32% among Canadians, 33% among the Dutch, and 35% in the United States.

The same trend is apparent in the case of the impact of AI on the family. Peruvians are 81% optimistic, compared to only 41% for Belgians.

According to Henri Wallard, Deputy Director General of Ipsos, this phenomenon can be explained by an AI presence already marked in China. Citizens are already familiar with this technology, and feel they understand it and see its benefits. On the contrary, in France and in the West, the population considers itself less familiar and expresses less confidence.

On a global scale, education and training are the area where the most respondents expect AI to make an improvement. This area is cited by 77% of participants, ahead of entertainment and transportation.

In contrast, only 37% of respondents expect AI to improve in the area of freedoms and rights. Regarding the impact on employment, 47% think that AI will bring positive.

What policy responses to AI’s job destruction?

According to Erwann Tison of the think tank Institut Sapiens, it is necessary to define a policy for the labor market in order to accompany the generation that will be impacted by this industrial revolution. Highly qualified professions are not immediately threatened, but less qualified profiles will have to be accompanied.

According to Taiwanese expert Kai-Fu Lee, from a purely technical point of view, half of all jobs could disappear because of AI. However, social battles and inertia to change could reduce this share to about 20%.

The final impact of AI on work will depend on social power relations, as with every technological revolution. In the worst case, all wealth will be captured by a small handful of high-tech companies that will develop AI used in all sectors. On the contrary, AI could be complementary to humans, increase productivity, and part of the savings would be redistributed to employees.

LaborIA: a government lab to measure the impact of AI

laboria

In November 2021, the Department of Labor launched a research laboratory to study the impact of AI on working conditions, recruitment, training and social dialogue. Its role will also be to issue recommendations for companies.

To create this lab dedicated to the study of the impacts of AI on workAn agreement was signed by the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Integration with the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (INRIA).

This laboratory, called “LaborIA”, will be placed under the responsibility of the institute of technological and social innovation Matrice. This institute was founded in 2016. It combines the functions of a training organization, incubator, research center, innovation laboratory and artistic creation place.

According to François-Xavier Petit, executive director of Matrice, ” artificial intelligence is no longer just a technological subject. Its maturity, its development, its presence in our daily lives mean that it has become a challenge for the organization of work: reorganizing the way we produce, seeking new skills, adopting a new approach between what is human and what is machine-based, automating entire areas of work to ‘de-automate’ humans

LaborIA’s mission will be to ” to better understand artificial intelligence and its effects on work, employment, skills and social dialogue in order to change business practices and public action ” . This program is funded for five years by the Department of Labor.

Initially, experiments will be conducted in 2022. A AI at work barometer will be built from a survey of companies until April. From September, concrete experiments will be launched on working conditions, recruitment, training and social dialogue. The aim will be to establish recommendations. In parallel, the laboratory’s role will also be to lead debates with civil society, social partners and public authorities.

The perspective of universal income

Several avenues are being considered. It would be possible to set up a tax on robots, or a universal income. In this way, the loss of jobs caused by automation could be compensated.

If artificial intelligence creates jobs, it also and above all creates wealth. It is essential to determine how this wealth should be shared. This is the role of states.

If artificial intelligence eliminates many jobs, it is imperative that mass unemployment be compensated. One of the proposals put forward by researchers and politicians is the implementation of a Universal Basic Income.

The concept is simple. It is about pay money to individuals, in order to meet their needs such as food and shelter. This modest income would have no strings attached, and could be supplemented with other sources of income.

This is not a new idea. Its origin is generally attributed to Thomas Painewho defended the right to income in his book Agrarian Justice published in 1795.

It has already been experimented in England in the middle of the 1800sthrough the Speenhamland System. The purpose of this scheme was to provide grants to poor families to supplement their incomes and meet their basic needs.

This initiative was however abandonedOne of the reasons for this was that birth rates in poor areas had increased massively. Epidemics of disease also broke out, and people who received the money no longer sought work. This failure has long been used as an argument against a universal income.

Nevertheless, it was later proved that these conclusions were false. In reality, the Speenhamland project was able to massively reduce hunger, misery, and quell the popular revolt.

The implementation of a universal income raises many questions. The detractors and skeptics see it as one more social aid, which will cost governments too much money.

Many entrepreneurs and researchers, however, support this idea. We can cite Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. These prominent figures believe that a universal income is not only possible, but necessary.

As Elon Musk explains, automation leads to abundance. According to PwC, it could inject about 15 trillion dollars into the world’s GDP. Universal income could therefore be financed by AI, in order to redistribute the wealth produced by this technology.

In 2021, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman published an essay called “Moore’s Law for Everything. In it, he explains that within ten years, AI could generate enough wealth to pay 13,500 a year to every adult in the U.S..

In particular, it proposes to taxing capital, businesses and land rather than labor. This is what would finance the universal income. Each year, this income could increase on the sole condition that the country continues to grow and improve its economic performance. All citizens would thus have a share of responsibility in the evolution of the country, even if they were no longer forced to work.

Critics fear that such an initiative encourages people to stop working. Yet previous experiments have shown the opposite. In a project in the city of Dauphin, Manitoba, in the 1970s, citizens were not deterred from working.

Another criticism concerns the need to feel useful. Many people find a purpose in work, and may no longer find meaning in their lives. However, nothing will prevent them from continuing to work as volunteers or to increase their income.

In France, universal income was a measure proposed by the socialist candidate Benoit Hamon in the 2017 presidential elections. More recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought this topic back to the center of the debate.

However, the majority of the French citizens seem to be opposed to this idea. It seems that the concept of universal income is not in our culture.

For many French people, such a measure would be too complex to put in place and would require a complete reform of the economic system. It would also have a significant cost, requiring an increase in income or corporate taxes…

Neuralink: towards a fusion between AI and humans?

The famous entrepreneur Elon Musk is among the experts fearing that AI will make the human brain obsolete and lead to the extinction of our species. In order to avoid this apocalypse, the businessman has created the startup Neuralink.

His goal is to develop a brain implant that will connect, and even to merge our brains with computers. In this way, we could increase our intelligence and remain competitive with AI.

A brain-machine interface works by using electronic devices to send signals to neurons in the brain. Indeed, our brains “think” thanks to electricity.

The device developed by Neuralink can read more than 1024 channels of dataThis is 10 times more than the current medically approved brain-machine technologies. In particular, it can collect data on brain pressure or temperature.

In August 2020, Elon Musk and Neuralink first demonstrated a chip implanted in the brain of a pig. A screen displayed in real time the data on neuronal activity of the animal while it went about its business.

This demonstration was impressive because the Neuralink was able to predict signals. In the future, this technology could be used to “predict” the movements of paralyzed people or suffering from neurological disorders and compensate for their loss of mobility.

In addition, Neuralink can also “write” to neurons. Each electrode can influence between 1000 and 10 000 neurons. With 1000 electrodes, the device can therefore influence 10 million neurons. It would even be possible to combine several devices to influence tens of millions of neurons.

These chips of the size of a room are called “Links”, with a diameter of 23 mm and a thickness of 8 mm. They connect to the brain via small cables. Neuralink’s goal is to install them as quickly and easily as LASIK, in less than an hour with the help of a robot surgeon and without general anesthesia.

Initially, Neuralink could be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It would preserve the brain for several more decades, instead of letting it erode over the years.

The implant could also improve sleep, reduce hunger, reduce pain or increase alertness. Another possibility will be telepathy between Neuralink chip users, or even browse the web by thought. A person equipped with an implant could even control a robot remotely.

Ultimately, however, Elon Musk’s real goal is to to allow the human being a symbiosis with the machine. Rather than competing with AI, our brains could collaborate with technology.

Connecting the human mind to the cloud, to the internet, the entirety of human knowledge would become accessible instantaneously. This new capacity would open new scientific, intellectual and philosophical doors. This “superhuman cognition” would allow us to avoid the superiority of AI, and thus to fight against mass unemployment linked to automation.

The need for training

For its part, the OECD recommends that its members prepare assistance for reconversions. It also calls for support for those affected by job cuts. In particular, it is recommended to invest massively in continuing education. More than ever, it is essential to train throughout one’s life.

Business leaders must focus on managing professional transitions. They must ensure that employees acquire new skills. Studies show that technological change improves employees’ performance and offers them the prospect of development in new professions. This is particularly true for graduates.

In 2019, Amazon has announced plans to train a third of its 300,000 American employees for the sum of 700 million dollars. This “Upskilling 2025” project aims to offset the massive automation of the firm’s warehouses. The goal is to teach volunteer employees skills they can apply to work in technical positions at Amazon or another company.

The young and old should be trained to face the new challenges. Technology is intended to relieve human suffering and make work more efficient, but technological revolutions must be supervised by politics.

Nevertheless, low-skilled workers are particularly at risk by the risk of automation amplified by the Covid-19 crisis. This workforce must therefore be accompanied towards a professional transition.

For the time being, most of the jobs related to artificial intelligence have yet to be invented. Engineers and researchers are currently the main jobs in this emerging sector.

Getting trained in artificial intelligence offers major opportunities. On average, jobs requiring AI skills offer 11% higher salary. However, the new jobs generated by AI will not necessarily require specific skills.

There are several paths to training and working in AI. In any case, a highly qualified scientific profile is essential.

From numerous computer schools now include a specialization in artificial intelligence. The same is true for master’s degrees in computer science and mathematics at universities. Some engineering schools also offer courses dedicated to AI, such as École Polytechnique, which launched a Graduate degree in 2018.

There are also specialized coursesparticularly for the health sector. One example is the Master of Science in Health Management & Data Intelligence at the École des Mines Saint-Étienne. Similarly, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris has launched the first Chair of Artificial Intelligence in Health with a DU, master classes and seminars.

As for employees, they can already learn about how AI will impact their jobs. Workers most at risk can learn about the skills and “soft skills” they need to acquire to make a difference with machines, and which jobs are least likely to be automated…

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