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Your arts degree could help you survive a robot takeover, according to Chinese technologist

Arts students rejoice!

An artificial intelligence expert reckons that artistic and human pursuits are less imitable because they are output driven. This makes them difficult or impossible to automate and constantly in demand.

Kai fu Lee is a mega-brain, boss dog investor and technologist. The former Google (it’s always Google!) executive made the suggestion that the difficulty in automating creativity will lead to a stable demand for creative products.

Speaking to Quartz, Lee expects that 50 percent of careers will be replaced by computers and/or robots in the next ten years. Coupled with a universal basic income, this may allow people to commit themselves to more artistic or humanistic pursuits. In this future, doctors will be reduced (or elevated) to primarily giving emotional support to patients while robocologists perform tumour removals. He calls the new class of citizen “workers of love”, which is not to be misconstrued in any way whatsoever.

We all think that robots will form the next revolution, but the new reality of AI will likely be non-physical and consist of computational decision-making processes. The jobs that require a small amount of thinking will be gone first – think tax accountants, insurance processing etc.

When you listen to the guy talk it’s a bit daunting. He references solving world poverty and bundling hordes of people out of their jobs at the same time. Kind of like having a nice warm bath but there’s a crocodile in it. His comments indicate that maybe creative careers are the Steve Irwin to the bath crocodile.

He’s corroborated by University of Oxford study estimating that 90% of creative jobs aren’t vulnerable to takeover by our automated overlords. On the other hand, machines are writing novels in Japan, painting paintings in Germany.

As a completely simplified bit of evidence, here’s some art that was done completely by a computer. Feels kind of weird looking at it.
Painting by a computer

Time will tell whether Lee is correct or not but to be fair to him he has skin in the game. He has cash on board a company that can recognise 3 million peoples faces at once and another one which can issue loans in eight seconds. Both feats that are beyond any human operator

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