In our Professional issues in Creative Media class this week, Richie had shown us a YouTube documentary titled ‘Humans need not apply’. The documentary focused on the fact that machines and simple AI have made hundreds of thousands of people redundant in the last fifty or so years and are continuing to do so. Beginning with the automated assembly line in car manufacturing plants, to software that can type an essay for you if given a topic.

As has always been, technology has been there to serve man, and as Josh Moody had pointed out in class “Technology is how man makes hard tasks more simple”. So it would make sense that if a machine can analyse thousands of emails in a matter of minutes, while a human might take weeks to analyse the same data, why hire the human? Humans get tired easily and need to feed regularly in order to function. A machine can operate for months without tire or need of repair, it can’t feel sad or happy, it can’t say it doesn’t want to come into work today. The machine has a single purpose, to do it’s job and unfortunately for us, it does its job well and without pay.

Obviously the machine would seem like the likely candidate for most jobs. But there is one thing that humans have over the machine. Gut instinct. As pointed out in the first ‘Iron Man’ film by Colonel James Rhodes in reference to drones – “I’ll tell you in my experience, no unmanned aerial vehicle will ever trump a pilot’s instinct”. For example, lets say a program is analysing emails in a court case and it comes across what looks like a potentially incriminating email for the defendant, the program would assume that the email makes the defendant guilty. A human would know to look further and judge the email in context, rather than try to fill parameters for a verdict. This could potentially bring a different outcome to the case.

Machines will always have a purpose in our world and there is no doubt that machines have made life much easier than it has ever been for us humans. But a computer or a machine will always make decisions based on probabilities and maths, a human can make decisions on the fly based on what is the right thing to do or how they feel. And if ‘I, Robot’ is anything to go by, machines don’t have hearts to tell them what they should do.

The featured image and image below is taken from Alex Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’ which explores AI and it’s potentially deadly future.

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Film poster for Ex Machina

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