Artificial intelligence

If AI means job losses, here’s what Hong Kong DSE students can do to survive the trend

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 6:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2018, 6:00pm

I am writing in response to the article, “One million Hongkongers could lose their jobs to AI over next 20 years, study finds” (July 10).

The rapid growth of technology has led to the creation of AI (artificial intelligence) to make human activities more efficient. They combine human-like actions with high productivity, and their surging numbers are causing more people to lose their jobs.

Your article says that a million people in Hong Kong, including accountants, auditors and secretaries, could face job losses. Hong Kong, with its small manufacturing sector, may be at a lower risk than developed economies such as Britain, the US and Japan, where workers in labour-intensive industries, such as plastics and clothing, might find themselves unemployed.

But analysts believe Hong Kong’s four pillar industries will not be immune to threats from AI, and that means financial services, trading and logistics, tourism, and even professional services. Widespread job losses could increase dissatisfaction with the government and disturb social stability.

We must prepare for the AI revolution

Therefore, choosing careers carefully is of utmost importance for young people, especially this year’s HKDSE (Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education) candidates who have just received their results, and are weighing what to do next in terms of a career path. They need to choose jobs that are not easily replaced: for instance, that of lawyers, psychiatrists or creative artists, like graphic designers. Students should be aware of the risk of being replaced by AI when they make their decision.

AI technology is developing rapidly, and robots can not only take on repetitive jobs but even outsmart humans. Take AlphaGo as an example: the AI programme from Google defeated champion Go player Ke Jie last year. If society does not start striking a balance between the development of AI and human lives, the artificial could well pose a threat to the real one.

Ivan Tsoi, Po Lam