Nothing is going to change the way we live our lives more than the Internet of things, artificial intelligence and robotics. While these technologies will make life a lot easier and businesses more efficient and profitable there is a huge flip side as well. This has to do with employment prospects and if some prominent scientists are to be believed artificially intelligent machines might one day turn on their creators and destroy all humanity.
The Internet of things is expected to connect people, data, processes and devices on a gargantuan scale by the end of the decade – a whopping 50 billion connections. Before one starts worrying about the prospects of humanity being at risk from a take-over by machines, one needs to figure out how the opportunities presented by the Internet of things are put to optimal use, which in itself will require some doing.
The biggest existential threat to us will not be from sci-fi movie like scenarios where artificially intelligent machines and robots will rebel against humans, but by the security vulnerability that this mass scale convergence could give rise to. A less than perfectly designed system could for example impact upon the whole network and lead to disastrous consequences on an unprecedented scale.
Considering that real artificial intelligence is presently at an infantile stage, it is rather silly to be tilting at wind mills when we worry about the danger it poses to humans. Let us learn to fully reap the benefits that the Internet of things, some rudimentary artificial intelligence and smartly evolving robotic technologies bring to us. When the time comes we will ourselves find the solution to any potential threat in the future. We always have. The industrial revolution, when it came in the eighteenth century, evoked similar dread and trepidation, but things worked out more or less fine at the end of it. There were really serious social and economic consequences of that revolution which had to be overcome before things settled down.
In the meantime we need to prepare our youngsters to handle these emerging technologies as this will help them find employment in the times ahead. There will of course be job losses for some on account of the increase in all round automation, but there will be other opportunities aplenty for those who anticipate and prepare for the paradigm shift in the way businesses and organisation will conduct their affairs in the times ahead. We are entering very interesting times indeed.