I just tried the Deep Music skill on Alexa. It generates AI music – which sounds pretty much as you’d expect. It’s a bit repetitive, but not too bad. This is an area of Machine Learning that will get a lot better in the near future. So, my AI voice assistant can now play AI generated music at me!
There is a great graph-filled post over at Slate Star Codex called Technological Unemployment – much more than you wanted to know. After analysing a lot of data from the US economy, the author arrives at some tentative conclusions: The main point seems to be that the evidence for large-scale technological unemployment is mixed. There is evidence of technological underemployment however. There are signs that people are now struggling to adjust. The final paragraph is:
“This is a very depressing conclusion. If technology didn’t cause problems, that would be great. If technology made lots of people unemployed, that would be hard to miss, and the government might eventually be willing to subsidize something like a universal basic income. But we won’t get that. We’ll just get people being pushed into worse and worse jobs, in a way that does not inspire widespread sympathy or collective action. The prospect of educational, social, or political intervention remains murky.”
There is a great post over at Charlie Stross’ Blog that gives the text of his keynote at the 34th Chaos Communication Congress in Leipzig, December 2017. He makes some interesting points about old, slow AI – i.e. corporations, and compares them to cannibalistic organisms that shed people like cells. He talks about the ways the standard limiter of regulation are failing (regulatory capture and regulatory lag). He ends with a fairly negative assessment of where we are heading. It’s a thought-provoking talk, and well worth reading / watching.
As Helen and I get older, I think that the way we work will have to change. At some point we will probably find it difficult to get contacts because of ageism, and also we will be too expensive in comparison with graduates with a few years experience. We will be forced to work entirely on our own projects. This is going to mean a few changes to the way we think. Both Helen and I have been ingrained with a strong work ethic, which struggles when we work on our own more nebulous projects. We both find it hard to stick with projects that don’t have a certain income stream. In the future we will need to change both the way we work, and the way we think about our work.