Artificial Intelligence - Smart Machine Age

Get ready for the “Smart Machine Age”

Thus spake the Washington Post in mid February. Is it serendipitous, coincidental, or just a sign of the times that I read 2 articles on the same afternoon about the same subject?

Jamie Nimmo writes in the Evening Standard from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“The Japanese owner of ARM believes that robots will be smarter than humans in 30 years, by which time they will have IQs of 10,000.

Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank, said his belief in artificial  intelligence drove last year’s £24 billion takeover of the Cambridge – based microchip designer.artificial intelligence surpasses mankind's brain - Smart Machine Age

“I bought ARM for $32 billion in cash. Why did I spend that much cash? Because I have a vision for the next 30 years.  This is the day computer brain, artificial intelligence, surpasses mankind’s brain.” Son said at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

He also predicted the population of smart robots, including cars, would surpass the human population in the same timeframe.

Son revealed ARM was currently not able to defend its chips from “bad guys” attempting to hack into devices, including cars. “There are 500 ARM chips in a car. None of them are secure today” Son said.

“If I’m a bad guy this could be a very dangerous way to attack society.”  He added: “That’s why we are putting a new security feature in all of the microchips. All of these devices have to be securely connected in the cloud.””

You can almost hear Jeremy Paxman utter his trademark  “Yeeees”

Ed Hess in The Washington Post writes in similar vein.

“Donald Trump is barking up the wrong tree on the jobs issue. He’s preoccupied with other nations taking US jobs, when he should be worried about the is the threat from machines.

almost half of all US jobs - could be lost as a result of advances in artificial intelligence - Smart Machine AgeOver the next five to 15 years, a ‘technology tsunami’ is going to hit the US job market. The best research to date suggests that almost half of all US jobs – some 80 million of them – could be lost as a result of advances in artificial intelligence, 3D manufacturing, robotics, driverless vehicles and other emerging technologies. This is no longer science fiction.

Optimists insist there’s nothing to worry about: new technology will generate new jobs to replace the old ones, they say, just as it did during the industrial revolution.

Perhaps. But let’s not forget the fact that the human disruption caused by the industrial revolution in Britain lasted 60-90 years. That’s a long period of painful adjustment. Besides, who’s to say that the new jobs created won’t themselves be better done by machines?

We need to begin preparing ourselves, our families and our nation by mastering those skills that technology cannot replace. We need to rethink human excellence for the Smart Machine Age.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Especially about “mastering those skills that technology cannot replace.”  And they probably won’t include much surgery, law, accountancy or banking.


With grateful thanks and acknowledgement to Jamie Nimmo of the London Evening Standard 27th Feb 2017 and Ed Hess of The Washington Post 8th Feb 2017.