Article by Dr. Julián de Diego published in El Cronista on June 14, 2021
The dehumanizing process of HR sectors at corporations has begun. It is a metamorphosis that implies the application of exponential technologies to replace human labor through artificial intelligence.
As a result of the accelerated pace of digitalization imposed on all activities by the pandemic, the workforce is facing staff cutbacks. The new jobs created by exponential technologies do not compensate for the loss. What’s more, the market largely demands top-level professionals specialized in computers, system engineering, robotics, and Internet communications. That is why the key is to direct education towards computer literacy and new technologies.
The digital era has led to de-bureaucratization and a paperless environment, where all processes are digital thanks to the implementation of different software programs and apps aimed at improving each system’s services and productivity.
One example of this is the emergence of many unexpected capabilities, like in banking and the use of legal tender, where alternative forms of payment have been introduced, leaving cash behind in favor of extra-banking systems, e-wallets, financial companies, or cryptocurrencies supported by blockchains.
We are at the dawn of AI, where machines and computers will think, act, reason, solve problems and behave like human beings. Machine learning automates learning and the building of analytical models, increasing intelligence with every exercise, promoting progressive learning through the use of Big Data, introducing deep neural networks, interconnecting independent units, and studying learners’ intelligence to find the most adequate scenarios to improve intellectual development.
Graphic processing units provide the elements required for interactive data processing. App interphases are portable code modules that add functionality to already existing software packages. Even though in education a combination of in-person and online schooling is still preferred, the transformations in the field are vertiginous.
Monitoring large data sets helps discover people’s habits, costumes, and preferences in their capacity as citizens, users, or clients. Data mining
techniques, for example, have been used, though amidst well-grounded
questioning, to predict election results in big cities in the US, where actions may be manipulated to modify citizens’ will. This can reorient their will and even change it in support of a certain political party. This is done in part by gathering personal information that is shared on social media.
Web pages for e-commerce classify people’s preferences, identify what they want, expect, and need to make their preferences pop up whenever they go online, read the news, look for a product or want to buy something. People become a target, no longer being protagonists. In this scenario, the Process of Human Beings Replacement or Substitution in the era of intelligent machines begins: AI is not only taking over using cognitive functions but also manages to replace people’s will and redirect their preferences within a wide range of possibilities.
Recent experiments have shown that it is possible to replace people’s spiritual and even emotional aspects, identifying each individual’s psychological and social type through facial sensors that can recognize physical features and also read moods, being capable of understanding whether they are paying attention to something or not, whether they are focused or distracted, whether they are sad, happy or excited, and even classify frustration levels. The university that tried this out had to stop because of the widespread criticism it received.
If AI, through computers and robotics, may replace human labor and activity, it may also take over all other activities where human beings are ineffective, where they take their self-destruction to unimaginable levels through wars and environmental disasters. The is-ought problem, the distinction between what ought to be and what really is would be constantly put into question.
You do not need to stretch your imagination that far away: Ray Bradbury (1929- 2012) and Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) did it for us in their sci-fi and robot stories, creating three rules: #1. Robots will do no harm to human beings, not even by omission. #2. Robots must fulfill the orders given by human beings, except when those that clash with the first rule. #3. Robots must protect their own existence as long as such protection does not clash with the first or second rules.
In 1968 2001 A Space Odyssey with the supercomputer HAL 9000 Stanley
Kubrick depicts an AI uprising in which human beings somehow lose their
purpose. In The Terminator (1984), Skynet rebels and decides to destroy
the human race. And in I, Robot (2004) AI controlling robots is determined to control humanity in order to eliminate any form of violence or self-destruction.
AI is being introduced in every organization in both the public and private sectors, proving to be an irreversible scientific breakthrough that will open up a discussion on the new legal framework for robotics and computers, the scope and ethical, moral, legal and even philosophical constraints for rollout, and the restrictions with which those who create these systems should operate so that machines aid the common good and do not limit or harm the fundamental rights and basic freedoms that are the essence of humanity.