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Office Hours: Working with Machines is a Lot Like Raising a Child

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Office Hours: Working with Machines is a Lot Like Raising a Child

Cornerstone Editors

MAY 22, 2019

The loudest talk about artificial intelligence tends to be a strange combination of the existential and the personal. Elon Musk argues that AI will threaten the future of humanity, Mark Zuckerberg calls Musk's warnings "irresponsible" and a Twitter tiff ensues. Meanwhile, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty declared earlier this year that AI will change 100% of jobs. Workers are now pondering what exactly all this means for their careers—and the rest of their time on the planet.

Though far from the sentient intelligence of science fiction, many forms of AI—such as speech recognition, imagery analysis, and predictive analytics—are already in use. According to John Sumser, principal analyst at HR Examiner, it's high time that we develop sober expectations for how we might interact with it in practice.

In this video, Sumserlikens our relationship with AI-related technologies to our relationship with a child. We will have to raise AI "through all the stages of childhood" — from a largely incompetent infancy to a specialized, though imperfect, adulthood. And even at this level, says Sumser, attributes such as compassion and conscience will remain the province of humans. The future of work will require managers and employees to work with—not against—automation.

Photo: Creative Commons

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