Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Upcoming SlideShare
Success is in Belief
Success is in Belief
Loading in …3
×
1 of 63

The AIs Are Not Taking Our Jobs...They Are Changing Them

72

Share

Download to read offline

My talk at the Web Summit in Dublin on November 6, 2014. Reflections on the notion that AI will take away jobs, and our need to recognize and redefine the human role in the applications we build. Covers many of the same ideas as my "Internet of Things and Humans" talk, but from a slightly different angle.

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

The AIs Are Not Taking Our Jobs...They Are Changing Them

  1. The AIs Are Not Taking Our Jobs Tim O’Reilly The Web Summit November 6, 2014 @timoreilly
  2. They Are Changing Them Tim O’Reilly The Web Summit November 6, 2014 @timoreilly
  3. @timoreilly
  4. @timoreilly Some other scary AI taking our jobs... or maybe Kevin Kelly?
  5. @timoreilly
  6. @timoreilly
  7. @timoreilly
  8. @timoreilly
  9. @timoreilly
  10. @timoreilly Human-Computer Symbiosis “The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.” Licklider, J.C.R., "Man-Computer Symbiosis", IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, vol. HFE-1, 4-11, Mar 1960. Eprint
  11. @timoreilly We are building a global brain
  12. @timoreilly The Internet of Things and Humans #IoTH
  13. @timoreilly and it is giving us super-powers
  14. @timoreilly
  15. Our Phones Used to Be the Tool of Superheroes @timoreilly Dick Tracy: 1946 Star Trek: 1964
  16. @timoreilly A Modern Superpower
  17. @timoreilly
  18. @timoreilly
  19. @timoreilly
  20. @timoreilly
  21. @conference @ t@imtimoroereililllyy
  22. @timoreilly
  23. @timoreilly
  24. @timoreilly Now, I want you to notice something.
  25. @timoreilly
  26. @timoreilly The Google Self-Driving Car
  27. @timoreilly The recorded memory of augmented humans
  28. @timoreilly
  29. Imagine Google Glass Reinventing Personalized Home Health Care @timoreilly
  30. @conference @ t@imtimoroereililllyy
  31. @timoreilly Uber too is a Human-Machine Symbiosis  Only possible because both driver and passengers carry GPS-enabled cellphones  Big data back end does dispatch, tracks distance and time traveled, automates billing, tracks reputation  But people are the “last mile”
  32. With an AI as Dispatcher  Drivers are available in locations that never had taxis  Drivers are available at more times, because supply is matched to demand  Drivers can work when they want, for how long they want  Reputation systems rather than licensing bring new supply into the market  Location and worker arbitrage increasing supply is also a key element in other sharing economy companies @timoreilly
  33. @timoreilly Uber is a Human-Machine Symbiosis  People + new kinds of smart machines = the ability to rethink an entire industry  We’re no longer just building software, we’re building new business processes and workflows in the real world
  34. @timoreilly “Uber is a $3.5 billion lesson in building for how the world *should* work instead of optimizing for how the world *does* work” - Aaron Levie of Box.net
  35. @timoreilly
  36. @timoreilly Work not jobs!
  37. So when someone says to you that technology is taking away jobs ... remind them how much still needs doing, and how much technology can be a tool for tackling the world’s biggest problems! @timoreilly
  38. @timoreilly Work on stuff that matters!
  39. @timoreilly Work that needs doing  Taking care of an aging population  Feeding the world  Improving health  Teaching and caring for children  Rebuilding our infrastructure  Energy and water conservation  New sources of carbon-free energy  Rebuilding trust in government  Encouraging people to dream of a better future!
  40. @timoreilly
  41. @timoreilly Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs “Think of Maslow’s famous pyramid of needs. At the bottom you’ve got material needs, as you climb up towards self actualization, meaning, friendship, connection etc. I would simply say that more of the economy needs to go further up Maslow’s pyramid. I think that’s happening anyway — the fact that Facebook’s now one of the most important companies in the world. I don’t think it’s doing it that well, but it’s further up the tree than an oil company. It’s further up the pyramid of needs.” - Alain de Botton http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/02/alain-de-bottons-better-capitalism/
  42. @timoreilly
  43. @timoreilly Siri Autism BFF
  44. “One easy way to forecast the future is to predict that what rich people have now, middle class people will have in five years, and poor people will have in ten years. It worked for radio, TV, dishwashers, mobile phones, flat screen TV, and many other pieces of technology. “What do rich people have now? Chauffeurs? In a few more years, we’ll all have access to driverless cars. Maids? We will soon be able to get housecleaning robots. Personal assistants? That’s Google Now.” http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~hal/Papers/2013/BeyondBigD ataPaperFINAL.pdf @timoreilly Hal Varian
  45. @timoreilly
  46. @timoreilly
  47. @timoreilly
  48. @timoreilly
  49. @timoreilly
  50. @timoreilly
  51. @timoreilly
  52. @timoreilly Donor’s Choose Stats
  53. “…one privilege the insured and well-off have is to excuse the terrible quality of services the government routinely delivers to the poor. Too often, the press ignores — or simply never knows — the pain and trouble of interfacing with government bureaucracies that the poor struggle with daily.” @timoreilly — Ezra Klein
  54. @timoreilly
  55. @timoreilly
  56. @timoreilly
  57. @timoreilly “User needs. An empathetic service would ground itself in the concrete needs of concrete people. It’s not about innovation, big data, government-as-a-platform, transparency, crowd-funding, open data, or civic tech. It’s about people. Learning to prioritize people and their needs will be a long slog. It’s the kind of change that happens slowly, one person at a time. But we should start.”
  58. @timoreilly GDS
  59. @timoreilly Government can work for the people, by the people, in the 21st century, if we make it so.
  60. @timoreilly for the people
  61. @timoreilly for people
  62. by people
  63. @timoreilly We can build services for people, by people, of people in the 21st century,

Editor's Notes

  • In this time when so many people are saying that “the machine” is going to take away ever more jobs - the increasing intrusion of AI into our lives, with products like the Google Driverless car as a model - I think that we are going to need a great infusion of creativity to figure out how to use these technologies to make our entire society more prosperous - not just make a few people very rich. Or else “The AI revolution is doing to white collar jobs what robotics did to blue collar jobs.”
  • There are already a lot of handwringing articles that argue that the robots are going to take all our jobs.
  • And even people as smart and forward looking as Elon Musk are sounding warning bells about AI.
  • I won’t deny that there are many ways to go astray. The financial crisis of 2008 was driven by human greed, augmented by complex financial instruments, generally traded by algorithms, whose ownership no human being seems to have the ability to unravel.
  • And as DJ Patil and Hilary Mason have suggested, simply google the terms GPS and cliff to see the dangers of blindly following algorithmic guidance.
  • And yet, there’s very clearly something here that we need to understand. And a lot of people are thinking hard about it. There was a recent Pew Research project, which surveyed about 2000 AI researchers to get their thoughts on the future of employment in the light of AI.
  • The Guardian summarized the conclusion: Will robots take our jobs? Experts can’t decide. But notice that they illustrated the story with an image from The Terminator, continuing the fear-mongering.
  • I have a somewhat more optimistic perspective. I believe that the future can be found in what, back in 1960, JCR Licklider called Man-Computer Symbiosis. He said...
    Incidentally, Licklider was also the DARPA program manager who funded the original work on TCP/IP and the development of the Internet.
  • As I’ve argued in many past talks (which, by the way, you can retrieve and watch in an instant), we are building a kind of global brain, in which many of the leading applications are built by using machines to capture and build on collective human intelligence. In those past talks, I gave examples like wikipedia and google and twitter, but today, I’m going to update this thinking to focus a bit on the Internet of Things, or as I call it, The Internet of Things and Humans.
  • No, not that kind.
  • This kind.
  • The first role of AIs is to give super-powers to humans. We don’t think of GPS-based navigation as “AI”, but it is.
    Think about it. Drop a smartphone enabled human in a strange city and they can still find their way around. (Of course, we could do this with a much earlier augmentation, the printed map, but the key characteristic of modern technology is that information access is much faster, and more complete. And the downside - we are much more dependent on it!)
  • And smartphones are getting “smarter” all the time. There are more and more sensors. The Moto X is my favorite smartphone (so far) for this very reason. They’ve used the sensors in the phone in a variety of creative ways, from the feature shown here, that you can wake up your phone and ask it to do something without touching it, to the shake gesture to open the camera. But what I love best are features like that it notices when I’m driving. If I get a text, it says, “You just got a text? Would you like me to read it to you?” And of course, then asks me if I want to reply. What a great way to get you using speech features regularly, but also a great way to rethink the UI using the new superpowers given to my phone, and by extension to me, by clever use of the sensors.
  • And new phone “peripherals” (and yes, that’s what they are) like smart watches, are really just extensions of the data services that you already access through your phone.
  • or the Apple Watch.
  • The most visible intrusion of AI into our lives in the next few years is going to be via “agents” like Siri and Google Now, which will bring predictive analytics to bear on routine tasks that we already depend on our computers for.
  • You can also see AIs at work in a service like Google Maps or Bing Maps, especially on mobile. Not only does an “AI” give you routes, it tells you how long it will take to get where you’re going RIGHT NOW, based on real time traffic. And with services like Google Now or Microsoft Cortana, you get alerts telling you when to leave for your next appointment based on traffic conditions. In this case, you can see that traffic is really backed up on the bridge. Google showed me an alternate route using public transit, but that’s quite a bit longer.
  • Another day, though, when traffic was particularly bad on the approach to the bridge rather than the bridge itself
  • Google automatically re-routed us to another route that is longer in miles but shorter in time. Google Maps is constantly learning from everyone who uses the service. We already knew about this shortcut, but usually don’t know when to take it. Now we do.
    My fiance had an even more remarkable experience when driving recently in Texas. She was using navigation, in an unfamiliar environment. She was told to get on a freeway and drive 9 miles. A mile into the route, the navigation app on her phone told her to get off at the next exit. She did, and saw from the exit ramp an accident up ahead. The app had re-routed her in real time.
    A huge part of “closing the loop” is learning from your users, paying attention to what they do and responding to it. I’ve often said that one of the key competencies of web applications has got to be “harnessing collective intelligence.” Sensors let Google and Uber do this in real time, but there are lots of other ways you can do this.
  • That experience my fiance had was made possible by Waze, acquired recently by Google. Again, internet enabled smartphones, building a real time database... I particularly love how their home page emphasizes the role of people in building the collective database. This notion of collective intelligence has been my theme song since the Web 2.0 days. And pretty early on, I started saying that in the future (that is, now), those collective intelligence applications would be driven by sensors. Or even better, humans and sensors working in concert! Waze drivers report incidents, but their phones report traffic speed and location!
  • Is the Google self-driving car a triumph of AI? It was surely that. But there’s another important factor that is easy to overlook. Google’s chief scientist, Peter Norvig, says that the algorithms aren’t any better. Google just has more data. What kind of data?
  • It turns out that the autonomous vehicle is made possible by Google Streetview. Google had human drivers drive all those streets in cars that were taking pictures, and making very precise measurements of distances to everything. The autonomous vehicle is actually remembering the route that was driven by human drivers at some previous time. That “memory”, as recorded by the car’s electronic sensors, is stored in the cloud, and helps guide the car. As Peter pointed out to me, “picking a traffic light out of the field of view of a video camera is a hard AI problem. Figuring out if it’s red or green when you already know it’s there is trivial.” So this is a unique and unexpected application of the notion of human-machine symbiosis, which was originally called out as an important thread in computing by JCR Licklider in a paper all the way back in 1960.
  • Watson augments doctors, but also uses people to supply its information. It reads 60 million pages a second. But what is it reading? The medical literature, produced by humans. And it works as an assistant to humans. See how it is positioned: “a new partnership between people and computers that enhances and scales human expertise.”
  • This may be the real opportunity for new information retrieval UIs like Google Glass - in specialized settings where access to a computer can be seen as a powerful kind of human augmentation. I expect it to be used in professional settings before it becomes popular as a consumer device. (In social settings, it will require even more profound resets of behavior than the “always-on” mobile phone.) One of those professional settings might well be hotel check-in. Being recognized on the street would be creepy, but being recognized when you walk up to the check-in desk might just be a moment of surprise and delight. And I’d love to see my doctor using a device like Google Glass to consult Watson.
  • Taking this closer to the present, How many of you have used Uber or Hailo? If you have, you know how transformational it is to be able to know just how long it will take for a car to pick you up - to summon one whenever you need one, with the confidence that it will actually show up when and where you want it.
  • The opportunity is summed up perfectly in a tweet by box.net founder Aaron Levie. “Uber is a....” I believe their latest valuation was $17 billion, but you get the idea.
  • Another great example of someone using smartphones and big data to improve a real world service is the Apple Store. While every other retailer used technology to get rid of humans, Apple used it to give them superpowers, and created the most successful retail experience in the world.
  • That leads me to a key point? We have a lot of people talking about needing jobs, and not enough people talking about work. What needs doing? There were lots of jobs leading up to the 2008 Financial crisis, building houses that nobody really needed or wanted or could afford. Meanwhile, we continually fail to invest in work that really needs doing.
  • I want to leave you with the admonition I’ve been using since before the crash in 2008! Work on stuff that matters. Technology gives us superpowers. Let’s use them to make a better world for everyone.
  • Here are some ideas about work that needs doing.
  • Author Alain de Botton has been sounding some similar themes. I recently came across this fascinating article reporting on a talk he’d given about reinventing capitalism. http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/02/alain-de-bottons-better-capitalism. De Botton pointed out that as long as the world isn’t everything that we think it could be, there is work to be done. But he also made this fascinating point:
  • It’s easy to forget, as Facebook repositions itself as an advertising company, that its core promise is the promise of connection, keeping up with friends and family even when you aren’t with them. Here’s my granddaughter.
  • Even the AIs are playing here. I was touched by this recent NY Times story http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/fashion/how-apples-siri-became-one-autistic-boys-bff.html about how an autistic boy has become best friends with Siri.
  • There’s another way to think about startups that go up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I got started thinking about this as a result of a provocative assertion by Google chief economist Hal Varian. Hal said:
  • That made me think of Downton Abbey, the popular BBC show about Georgian England. What do the rich people of Downton Abbey do? They entertain themselves and their friends, and help those less fortunate.
  • Think about today’s successful applications that are up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and you see that we are already living in that economy. I love how YouTube stars like John and Hank Green, the vlogbrothers, do both: entertain and educate. John is a bestselling young adult author, but he takes the time to educate his millions of young followers about current events.
  • This theme of entertaining each other ranges from Facebook and YouTube and Twitch.TV
  • even to real world services like AirBnb. The top AirBnb destinations are marketed as unique experiences.
  • Ten years ago, science fiction author Cory Doctorow wrote a book about this “Attention Economy”, called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. It talks about a world in which all physical wants have been met through AI and nanotechnology, and the economy is based on entertainment and attention.
  • Kickstarter may be the economic foundation of this new economy.
  • Along with new funding mechanisms like AngelList
  • and charities like donors choose
  • But I want to take this story a bit further. One of the most important pieces about the healthcare.gov rescue was written by Washington Post columnist (now vox.com founder) Ezra Klein. He wrote about how healthcare.gov was not an exception, but the rule, when it came to government services.
    And that got me thinking about the role of Empathy in User Experience design. In particular, how it applies to the work we do at Code for America, a non-profit I’m on the board of. We send small startup teams into cities to work with them to discover how technology can be applied to transform citizen services or other aspects of local government. We also organize networks of civic hackers, work on open data standards, and help cities share best practices with each other.
  • And in that context, let’s talk a bit about a US program called food stamps, or as they’ve been renamed, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. I’m sure you have similar programs over here.
    Recently, I heard an eye opening segment on the radio show Marketplace. Do you know that a huge proportion of food stamp dollars
    are spent at stores like Walmart between midnight and 1 am on the one night that people’s SNAP cards are electronically refilled?
    Who goes food shopping at midnight? People who haven’t eaten for a few days, that’s who.
    So it really matters when you show up at the front of the line, and suddenly your SNAP card doesn’t work because of some
    bureaucratic SNAFU!
  • Some of the Code for America Fellows went to work on this problem last year, in partnership with the Human Services Agency in San Francisco.
  • There’s a local affiliate called Code for Ireland. And if you’re in another country, look for an affiliate there, under the umbrella organization Code for All. http://www.codeforamerica.org/about/international/
  • Jake Solomon, one of the Fellows, wrote an amazing piece about his experience, entitled People, Not Data. In it, he describes the problem: people were falling out of the SNAP program because they didn’t comply with bureaucratic letters that they didn’t understand. No one can understand them. But nobody who was implementing the program had ever themselves tried to comply with the rules and to respond to the instructions, until the Code for America fellows they did that. They replaced these obscure letters with text messages that effectively said, “There’s a problem with your benefits. Call the
    office!” As Jake said, “User needs...”
    There’s a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about measuring and paying attention to users. We talk about Lean Startup and “Growth Hacking.” But there’s a big difference to paying attention to user behavior so you can exploit it - say to drive ad clicks on in-app purchases - and to paying attention to it so you can make a real difference in the lives of real people.
  • That’s why one of the bibles of user centered design, in my opinion, should be the UK government Digital Service’s Design Principles.
    It’s about technology, yes, but far more importantly, it’s about putting technology to work for humans, not the other way around.
    This is a huge cultural change for government, and that’s one reason it’s so interesting and challenging a set of problems to work on.
  • We think those values are represented pretty well in the mission statement that serves as our sort of North Star, our guiding light, at Code for America. These final slides are borrowed from my fiance, Jen Pahlka, the Executive Director of Code for America.
  • For the people by the people isn’t just a dusty line from the Gettysburg address. Most of the people I’ve met who work in government went into public service in the first place because of what this line represents: they wanted to serve the public. But there’s another way to say this…
  • For the people also really means FOR PEOPLE. That’s what Jake Solomon was talking about in his work on Human Services in San Francisco. And it’s also what you should be thinking about in every application you write.
  • I haven’t talked as much today about the notion of “by the people,” but if you’ve followed my work for the past decade, you know that I’ve talked nearly incessantly about the role of collective intelligence, expressed either explicitly through new forms of cooperation, or implicitly by the data we contribute simply by interacting with modern applications, or increasingly, implicitly, via the data shadows we leave with sensor-driven applications.
  • Taken together, I think that this is a pretty good mission statement for people outside government too! So if I can adapt Jen’s framing to my purpose, let me urge you to build services for people, by people, and even *of* people (to bring back Lincoln’s original third element) using 21st century technology for the good of all.
    There is plenty of work to be done.
  • ×