Welcome to your jobless future… Artificial intelligence will replace half of all jobs in the next decade
05/09/2017 // Earl Garcia // Views

Artificial intelligence is set to replace 50 percent of all jobs in the next 10 years, renowned technologist Kai-Fu Lee predicted. In a report published last year, Lee highlighted how artificial intelligence is starting to shape the world's landscape. "AI is really changing every profession and every industry. There’s almost nothing that won’t be touched by AI. You could easily imagine education applications for instance — AI could replace a lot of the basic teaching functions. Medicine and health are also key areas. AI works very hard and is very cheap. Humanity as a whole will have a lot more resources and we will probably be able to take care of everyone thanks to AI. As for human mankind, we’re probably not here on Earth to perform repetitive and non-productive tasks,” Lee said in TechCrunch.com.

According to Lee, artificial intelligence will be the single most significant innovation in all of human tech revolutions combined -- such as electricity, the industrial revolution, internet, mobile internet -- due to its pervasiveness. Lee also stressed that artificial intelligence far surpasses human capabilities. As an example, Lee noted that artificial intelligence could recognize three million faces at the same time, and may even disperse loans in eight seconds. "It is the decision engine that will replace people. These are things that are superhuman, and we think this will be in every industry, will probably replace 50 percent of human jobs, create a huge amount of wealth for mankind and wipe out poverty" Lee stated in a separate article in CNBC.com.


Latest figures showed that the current global population is around 7.2 billion. About 70 percent of people around the world belong in the working population. If Lee's predictions prove true, five billion jobs worldwide will be lost to artificial intelligence within the next 10 years.

Lee is the man behind venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures, and has around 50 million followers on Chinese social networks. The technologist is also highly acknowledged as a leader in predicting the future of technology in China. Lee previously spearheaded various technology giants such as Google China, Apple and Microsoft.

Lee: AI may not replace human-to-human interaction

With artificial intelligence being a front liner in technology, Lee maintained what other leading tech firms such as Microsoft and IBM claim: That nothing can replace human interaction. Speaking at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing, Lee acknowledged that touching a person's heart is something that machines could never accomplish. In relation to this, Lee stated that service jobs should be considered as first-class employment.

Microsoft's lab director Chris Bishop agreed to this, saying that artificial intelligence may serve as a complimentary tool to human expertise. Bishop cited tumor detection as an example. According to Bishop, the goal of artificial intelligence is not to replace physicians or radiologists, as human expertise are still needed to diagnose the tumor and plan the treatment. The main goal is to expedite certain processes such as segmentation from a few hours to a few seconds, which may prove essential not only for treatment but also for radiation planning and keeping tissue damage to a minimum, Bishop said. (Related: Be on the lookout for the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence at Robotics.news)

However, Lee also noted that traditional companies such as banks, insurance firms and hospitals are too slow in adopting technology amid all the advances occurring. According to Lee, this is a bad idea as these sectors contain the "biggest treasure" in the form of large data bases. "Because AI is about taking data into insight and decision, so I anticipate [the] internet sector, entrepreneurial sector, to continue to grow and in many cases displace and even wipe out traditional companies in China," Lee added.

Follow more news on the risks of tech at GLITCH.news.

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