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Anil K. Antony

Anil is a Venture Architect, Technology Evangelist and a Social Entrepreneur. He is the Executive Director of Cyber India (www.cyberindia.org), a think tank in cyber security and surveillance technologies and the Vice President and a member of board of trustees of Navoothan Foundation (www.navoothan.org), a non-profit focusing on healthcare and empowerment of women.

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Competitive Threats from Robots and AI Taking Us to a New Dawn in Evolutionary History

According to a World Bank research, more than 69 % of the current jobs in India and 77 % of the current jobs in China would be threatened by automation in the not so distant future.

Photo Credit : tribune-intl.com,

The grim prospect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning based technologies and Robotics steadily taking away our jobs has become one of the most spoken about challenges of this era. They are in the process of overhauling, not only the mass employment generating low-skilled blue-collar jobs in our farms and factories, but also threatening skilled white-collar workers like doctors, lawyers, stock brokers and bankers. According to a World Bank research, more than 69 % of the current jobs in India and 77 % of the current jobs in China would be threatened by automation in the not so distant future.

While current concerns are pertaining to job losses and unemployment, some of the visionary minds of our generation like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates does give us chilling warnings, that super intelligent machines, once weaponised, coupled with autonomous decision making capabilities could some day look at humans as a competing threat, and start the process of the termination of human civilization itself.

As numerous governments, think tanks and scientific communities across the globe spend countless hours conjuring up solutions for these implausible problems, Billionaire Tech titan, Elon Musk very recently came up with a nearly unthinkable solution to combat the machines – merge the human brain with AI making it into a mini machine! The startup – ‘Neuralink’, if successful might mark a new epoch in the evolution of mankind.

Before we write this off as the lunacy of a mad scientist, we need to keep in mind that Musk, arguably the greatest innovator of our times, is the founder of Tesla Motors, the revolutionary electric car company that very recently in its 14th year surpassed the 113 year Ford Motors as the most valuable US automobile manufacturing company, and the founder of Space X, the aerospace manufacturer and space transport company, that already out competes national governments, and other established private sector behemoths like Boeing and Lockheed Martin, despite its comparatively shoestring budget.

Technological innovations used to mend inherent human flaws are certainly not a novelty. Vision shortcomings corrected by contact lenses or the implantations of prosthetic and bionic body parts are just a few among a myriad of instances. However, enhancing human capabilities using the rapidly evolving technologies of Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology and Genomics could revolutionarily transform mankind, as we know it now.

Some of us would be smarter, more intelligent, stronger and faster based on our access to these cutting edge technologies. The scientifically enhanced beings among us would have a definite advantage over their peers in every sphere of our lives - from schools and offices to the academia and the military. This would lead to the formation of never seen before, unfamiliar variants of social and economic inequalities. Thomas Jefferson’s “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal ” would no longer hold true.

Paraphrasing best selling author and historian, Yuval Noah Harari, the current trajectory of our scientific discoveries and technological developments would result in the creation of a superhuman caste that would treat normal humans not any better than how the old colonists treated those in their subjugated colonies. Science and technology, which has so far provided mankind with immeasurable material progress, might have just taken us to the cusp of our most challenging, yet a very exciting period, in our evolutionary history.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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