As robots keep replacing human workers in manufacturing and now retail and food servicing, fears have arisen that artificial general intelligence (AGI) machines will threaten mankind when "intelligence escapes the constraints of biology" and machines can design and create their own offspring.
If that idea sounds far-fetched, then please consider Cambridge boffins fear 'Pandora's Unboxing' and RISE of the MACHINES.
Boffins at Cambridge University want to set up a new centre to determine what humankind will do when ultra-intelligent machines like the Terminator or HAL pose "extinction-level" risks to our species.
A philosopher, a scientist and a software engineer are proposing the creation of a Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) to analyse the ultimate risks to the future of mankind - including bio- and nanotech, extreme climate change, nuclear war and artificial intelligence.
Apart from the frequent portrayal of evil - or just misguidedly deadly - AI in science fiction, actual real scientists have also theorised that super-intelligent machines could be a danger to the human race.
Jaan Tallinn, the former software engineer who was one of the founders of Skype, has campaigned for serious discussion of the ethical and safety aspects of artificial general intelligence (AGI).
Tallinn has said that he sometimes feels he is more likely to die from an AI accident than from cancer or heart disease, CSER co-founder and philosopher Huw Price said.
Humankind's progress is now marked less by evolutionary processes and more by technological progress, which allows people to live longer, accomplish tasks more quickly and destroy more or less at will.
Both Price and Tallinn said they believe the rising curve of computing complexity will eventually lead to AGI, and that the critical turning point after that will come when the AGI is able to write the computer programs and create the tech to develop its own offspring.
"We need to take seriously the possibility that there might be a ‘Pandora’s box’ moment with AGI that, if missed, could be disastrous. With so much at stake, we need to do a better job of understanding the risks of potentially catastrophic technologies.” said Price.
President Obama says there is a "skills gap". A quick search says that many misguided souls believe the president.
For example Forbes writer Rich Karlgaard says The Skills Gap Exists.
Karlgaard believes the "gap is sure to grow as the population ages and industries from health care to manufacturing are altered by technology. Outsourcing to China won’t be the answer, either. Its population is aging the fastest of all the major economies."
Vicki Needham writing for The Hill says Skills gap is hampering labor market.
Needham, citing a report by Deloitte says "job creation in the United States is hampered by a lack of highly skilled and adaptable workers whose talents don't match current job openings".
The Atlantic comments on Solving the Manufacturing Skills Gap.
Eighty percent of the manufacturing companies in the United States say they cannot find enough workers with the proper skills to fill open positions at their facilities. That's the number President Barack Obama cited, as he announced the Military-to-Civilian Skills Certification Program, in June 2012.Skills Don't Pay the Bills
"If you can maintain the most advanced weapons in the world, if you're an electrician on a Navy ship, well, you can manufacture the next generation of advanced technology in our factories like this one," Obama said, speaking from the floor of a Honeywell plant in Minnesota.
But the problem is that veterans have had trouble getting hired, as Obama said, "simply because they don't have the civilian licenses or certifications that a lot of companies require."
Nearly six million factory jobs, almost a third of the entire manufacturing industry, have disappeared since 2000. And while many of these jobs were lost to competition with low-wage countries, even more vanished because of computer-driven machinery that can do the work of 10, or in some cases, 100 workers. Those jobs are not coming back, but many believe that the industry’s future (and, to some extent, the future of the American economy) lies in training a new generation for highly skilled manufacturing jobs — the ones that require people who know how to run the computer that runs the machine.Situation in a Nutshell
Running these machines requires a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring and computer code. It also requires a worker with the ability to figure out what’s going on when the machine isn’t working properly. And aspiring workers often need to spend a considerable amount of time and money taking classes like Goldenberg’s to even be considered. Every one of Goldenberg’s students, he says, will probably have a job for as long as he or she wants one.
And yet, even as classes like Goldenberg’s are filled to capacity all over America, hundreds of thousands of U.S. factories are starving for skilled workers. Throughout the campaign, President Obama lamented the so-called skills gap and referenced a study claiming that nearly 80 percent of manufacturers have jobs they can’t fill. Mitt Romney made similar claims. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates that there are roughly 600,000 jobs available for whoever has the right set of advanced skills.
The secret behind this skills gap is that it’s not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs. “It’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages,” he says. “It’s basic economics.” After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.
Goldenberg, who has taught for more than 20 years, is already seeing it up close. Few of his top students want to work in factories for current wages.
It’s easy to understand every perspective in this drama. Manufacturers, who face increasing competition from low-wage countries, feel they can’t afford to pay higher wages. Potential workers choose more promising career paths. “It’s individually rational,” says Howard Wial, an economist at the Brookings Institution who specializes in manufacturing employment.