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So You Still Think ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Isn’t A Threat To You And Your Life?
July 09, 2018

Photo of TOPIO, a bipedal humanoid robot designed to play table tennis against a human, seen here at Tokyo International Robot Exhibition, Nov 2009. Photo by Humanrobo. (Lic. Creative Commons 3.0)

CLICK TO ENLARGE :A 2014 tweet from the Tesla & Space-X founder Elon Musk after he’d read the book, “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies” by Nick Bostrom of the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. (Musk says read the book)
By B. Tanner
Chronicle opinion

(NATIONAL) – You’re going to love this one. As if you didn't have enough to worry about in your life – the prospect of ever retiring, making the mortgage payments, being able to afford health insurance for the family and what weird, off-the-wall un-American thing Donald Trump & The Trumpettes will do next – soon you will have to worry about what AI (‘Artificial Intelligence’) thinks about you in order to get a raise at work, a bonus and/or a promotion.

Here is what’s already happening over at IBM. And if you think this won’t spread like wildfire from big corporation to big corporation in the next few years and then migrate downstream from that, you’re sadly mistaken.

According to a new report by Bloomberg , “When performance review time rolls around (at IBM), employees get judged not only on their past accomplishments (and failures) but also on how they might perform in the future.”

And how in the world would IBM know that since IBM is (a) not clairvoyant and (b) not God?

According to Bloomberg, using “Artificial intelligence, Watson Analytics looks at an employee’s experiences and projects to infer the potential skills and qualities each person might have to serve IBM in the future. Watson also scours IBM’s internal training system to see if an employee has gained new skills. Managers then take Watson’s assessment rating into account as they make bonus, pay and promotion decisions.”

A few wonderful gems from that report published today titled, “Your Raise Is Now Based on Next Year’s Performance: Employers are trying to predict how well employees will do in the future.”

…….“Traditional models” said if you were a strong performer in your current job that was the singular way that you got a promotion. But now added into that management thinking, a thing called “hypothetical future performance” by Watson.

…….IBM claims Watson has a 96 percent accuracy rate, as compared to IBM’s “internal analysis with HR experts.” The company spot-checks “employee performance” against its predictions.

…….Employers have traditionally used past accomplishments as the “sole metric” for compensation decisions, based on the idea that “past is prologue.” But these days what you could do yesterday matters less than what you potentially do tomorrow.

…….”To motivate” employees to learn new skills, more employers are starting to “focus on the future during evaluations”. A survey of more than 2,000 organizations by one of the big consulting firms found that over 40 percent of respondents “are planning on or considering changing the focus of performance management to include future potential and possession of skills.”

In June of last year the New York Times ran a piece on AI that noted, “A.I. products that now exist are improving faster than most people realize and promise to radically transform our world, not always for the better...they will reshape what work means and how wealth is created, leading to unprecedented economic inequalities and even altering the global balance of power.”

From that Times report:

“A.I. is spreading to thousands of domains (not just loans), and as it does, it will eliminate many jobs. Bank tellers, customer service representatives, telemarketers, stock and bond traders, even paralegals and radiologists will gradually be replaced by such software. Over time this technology will come to control semiautonomous and autonomous hardware like self-driving cars and robots, displacing factory workers, construction workers, drivers, delivery workers and many others.

Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the A.I. revolution is not taking certain jobs (artisans, personal assistants who use paper and typewriters) and replacing them with other jobs (assembly-line workers, personal assistants conversant with computers). Instead, it is poised to bring about a wide-scale decimation of jobs — mostly lower-paying jobs, but some higher-paying ones, too. [Ed. Note: italics ours]

What does all this mean? Two things. One, you better hope you belong to a very strong union, one that can (hopefully) negotiate just how and how much A.I. can be used to dictate your future.

And number two, the working class is still very, very hosed.

Get your ascension robes ready and pray for a good nuclear war to wipe the slate clean and let nature start all over again.

We are doomed.



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