AI Going to Take Your Job?

Kevin Drum opined that real AI is going to take everyone's job, but he thinks real AI is still decades away.

Like objects in your mirror, AI that can do your job is closer than most people believe. It may well be that AI with a general intelligence exceeding humans is a few decades away, but the fact is that most jobs in today's world don't really demand that much general intelligence. What they do require is some specialized intelligence, and we already have AI that has proven very good at that sort of thing. Your cab driver, your radiologist, your check out clerk don't actually need to appreciate Shakespeare or the NFL to do their jobs, they just need some knowledge in a specialized area.

I think that it's underappreciated that the big thing holding back robots today is not intelligence but sensors and actuators. Humans, and for that matter, ants, are equipped with rich suites of each. Progress in making small sensors has been very rapid, although the specialized intelligence required to interpret the data is still limited. Actuators are a bigger problem, especially the kinds of versatile and precise actuators that can be as rugged and precise as human fingers, arms, and legs. The capability of muscles to maintain themselves is hard to replicate.


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