Week : 8 Automation and Machine Learning

Lets get into machine learning versus automation. Both types of technology use algorithms to accomplish some type of task: cleaning your house, unknowingly stealing your job, sending an email for you, etc.

What people might not realize is that algorithms are a part of our everyday lives. They are used to determine our credit score, where we will be seated in a restaurant, who we should date on a dating app.

The concept of automation and machine learning has been around for quite some time in the media before materializing. The 60s, 70s, and 80s witnessed a lot of this (Timecop, Knight Rider, Gilligans Island, Back to the Future), but why haven’t these concepts really taken off until recently (I expected to be in a hover car by now…). Maybe some humans are afraid of the implications this might cause such as job loss, a complete and total take over in which the robots gain feelings and thoughts of their own (Blade Runner anyone?)…or maybe it just takes awhile to get through all of the bureaucratic red tape…

So what does this world of algorithims and robots mean for society? Why do we need things robots that run a hotel for us when we are not in short supply of humans to do work? Seems to me the motivation is money. Everyone wants to save a buck.

Why do we want to replace ourselves? Again, there is financial motivation for this replacement, or supplement, if you want to be PC. The owner of a company can hire a robot to do a humans job without the messy financial burden of matching retirement, workers comp, and shelling out money for raises and overtime

So, what is a human worth in this capitalist society driven by the almighty dollar? This age of automation, machine learning, robotics, and algorithims tells me that we are not worth what we should be worth. It seems We are worth nothing if we can easily be replaced by a robot because it is cheaper.

This age doesn’t seem to be about humans but rather how certain humans can come up with ways to make a buck by stomping on the backs of blue collar workers.

Oh, but some might give the impression that an aspect of this age of autonomous systems is a good thing for human preservation. For example, the use of drones in the military and cars that can drive themselves. Having a drone shot down by a so called enemy of our great country instead of a human piloting a plane is good, right?

Less fatalities on the road. This seems very selfless of the creators and in the interest of everyday individuals. But, no selfless act is unselfish when money is involved. Less fatalities in any situation means less chances for having to pay out for a human life (i.e. insurance companies and the government).

Aside from the financial gain associated with autonomous systems, there is this idea that automation and machine learning can provide humans with a more leisure life. If you don’t have to drive yourself to work or clean your house than you have more time for hanging out. Well, for the non one-percenter if you are unemployed or partially employed than your existence in this capitalist society is somewhat limited by the constraints of not having any money.

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