From Fast Company:
At a recent conference in Hyderabad, India, I was given second billing to a robot. Not just any robot, mind you, but Sophia, the AI sensation from Hansen Robotics, which has recently been headlining events all over the world. Adding insult to injury, my presentation on creativity and human ingenuity was scheduled to follow directly after the robot. Given the electricity in the air as Sophie prepared to make her entrance, I felt terrified of being eclipsed by a machine.
It’s an increasingly common terror lately. One recent study by Oxford and Yale University researchers suggests that by 2053, robots will beat us at translating languages, writing essays, and conducting surgeries. Worst of all, they expect all human jobs to be automated within the next 120 years.
Disney is by no means averse to technology. In fact, one of the company’s newer high-tech solutions, the Magic Band, uses RFID technology to let guests reserve their favorite attractions and purchase merchandise, and it also doubles as a room key and entrance ticket to the parks. In addition to improving the guest experience (no waiting in lines!), the Magic Band provides a wealth of data to improve real-time operations and plan future products and services. But in my 30 years at Disney, in all the innovative ways I saw technology being deployed, I never witnessed it beat out human ingenuity.
As I stood backstage watching the audience watching Sophia, I found–to my surprise (and selfish delight)–that the crowd’s initial wonder and awe soon turned into nervousness, then visible fear. Sophia was remarkable for everything she could do, but worrisome for everything she seemed to represent for the future of humanity. When I took the stage to remind the attendees of the magic of human creativity and imagination, there was a palpable sense of relief.
The experience, which I will repeat soon in Guatemala, helped reinforce my conviction that robots, big data, and AI, as disruptive and extraordinary as they are sure to be, will never be able to compete with human intuition and the unique and mysterious combination of elements that constitute our emotional intelligence.
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For as long we’ve been around, humans have sought to express the mysteries of love and companionship, in song, verse, prose, art, film, and more. While robots will surely enhance our abilities and our senses, they can’t yet feel our emotions, nor match the creativity that those emotions spawn.
Link to the rest at Fast Company