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Artificial intelligence

Robots can’t take our jobs if we get the skills they can never have

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 11:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 August, 2018, 11:04pm

I refer to the letter from Jacky Tsoi “There is no need to fear AI, we can adapt” (July 22). I agree that mere fear is definitely no use in the current situation. There are rising concerns about how artificial intelligence (AI) will displace jobs but, instead of worrying, we should be equipping ourselves with more skills so as to combat the AI onslaught on human workers.

Moreover, AI as of now can only replace repetitive jobs that require automation, but not those that require human effort or intuition. AI can replace assembly line factory jobs because each production process is standardised and no creativity is involved. However, jobs that require logical thinking and value judgment can never be replaced.

How can one depend on AI for legal judgment, for instance, or for the creation of art? I believe we should equip ourselves with soft skills that can never be replicated by AI. Take workplace communication. Can AI compile a perfect email with considerations regarding the tone, register and, most importantly, the context? This is what humans excel at and we definitely have an edge over AI when it comes to judgment and logical presentation.

Flippy the robot will not steal your job

Moreover, while focusing on job losses due to AI, we often lose sight of the opportunities. AI development involves cutting-edge technology and will increase demand for IT and science professionals to conduct research to further refine the technology. We will need an army of scientific and technical brains to create future generation robots. Besides, there will be a demand also for supervisors to monitor the effectiveness of AI.

Watch: Can SCMP outsmart Hong Kong’s most famous robot?

Therefore, instead of worrying about AI taking our jobs, perhaps we should welcome the robot revolution for forcing us to upgrade our skills and move up the value chain in the job market, by finding more meaningful and rewarding work.

Stanley Cheng, Ma On Shan