We’re increasingly relying on artificial intelligence (AI) to automate elements of our daily lives, from issuing reminders to follow-up with important work tasks to regulating the temperature of our homes. Already, automation has started to take over jobs in the manufacturing sector, and with the explosion of AI on the near horizon, millions of people are worried their jobs, too, could be taken by a sufficiently sophisticated machine (or algorithm).
AI has innumerable benefits, namely saving time and increasing reliability and safety, but it also comes with downsides. AI could introduce new security vulnerabilities into otherwise secure systems, and realistically could replace or displace millions of white-collar jobs once thought irreplaceable.
. . . .
Let’s start with a high-level assessment of the future of AI. AI is going to continue to advance, at rates that continue accelerating well into the future. In 2040, we may look back on the AI available today the same way our ubiquitous-internet-enjoying culture looks back on the internet of 1999.
Essentially, it’s conceivable that one day, far into the future, automation and AI will be capable of handling nearly any human responsibility. It’s more a question of when, not if, the AI takeover will be complete. Fortunately, by then, AI will be so embedded and so phenomenally powerful, our access to resources will be practically infinite and finding work may not be much of a problem.
But setting aside those sci-fi visions, it’s realistically safe to assume that AI will soon start bridging the gap between blue-collar and white-collar jobs. Already, automated algorithms are starting to handle responsibilities in journalism, pharmaceuticals, human resources, and law—areas once thought untouchable by AI.
. . . .
That said, AI isn’t a perfect tool. AI and automation are much better than humans at executing rapid-fire, predictable functions, but there are some key areas in which AI tends to struggle, including:
- Abstract brainstorming and problem solving. If the problem is straightforward and puzzle-like, AI can likely solve it much better than a human. But humans are equipped with far superior abstract thinking capabilities. We, for lack of a better term, “think outside the box,” and can apply novel ideas to various situations. Accordingly, for the foreseeable future, we’ll likely remain better artists and more innovative problem solvers.
- Human interactions. While there are some teams working on developing AI assistants (and even therapists) that can replicate basic human interactions, the fact remains people prefer to engage with other people, at least in certain industries. For example, when you’re buying a new home, you’ll want to have a real conversation with a qualified real estate agent, and when you’re struggling with a mental health issue, you’ll want to speak with a human being sitting across from you. Accordingly, jobs that are heavily dependent on human interaction will likely be protected for some time.
- Situations with many (or unpredictable) variables. AI performs best in situations with firm, unbreakable rules, and the fewer rules there are, the better. When you get into situations with an increasing number of variables, or when those variables become unpredictable, AI begins to struggle. Accordingly, the higher up the management chain you go, the less likely it is that AI will be capable of handling the responsibilities.
Link to the rest at ReadWrite
PG will note that there are many AI vendors selling products for use in the legal world and more seem to appear with each new issue of various periodical publications for lawyers.