Man vs. Machine (Learning)?

02.07.2019 · By Ben Martin

One of the main misleading narratives you hear about artificial intelligence is that it’s out to compete with humanity. It’s man versus machine, and eventually, the machines will win.

Usually, it’s in the context of employment. The robots will take our jobs, they say, starting with the simplest and working their way through the professions. Sooner or later we’re living in storm drains with no option but to stage a plucky but ultimately futile rebellion against our digital overlords. 

But dystopian visions like these simply don’t fit with the current trajectory of AI. As the creator of AI, man still has a great deal of agency in how it is shaped and what it becomes.

Sure, AI will replace some jobs. We’re already used to unmanned self-service checkouts. Pretty soon, autonomous vehicles will start to put truckers out of work. 

And while this poses a challenge to society that we can’t take lightly, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’re social creatures, so there will always be a need for face-to-face interaction. This will ensure that the service sector (and many others) remain well stocked with real-life humans.

AI assistance

Secondly, AI isn’t just taking our existing jobs. It’s doing new jobs that we can’t do. For example, AI care assistants are helping older people who could never afford a human carer remain active. Farmers are using algorithms to predict crop yields — an impossible task for a human, but one that directly benefits humanity.

And then, crucially, there are the huge numbers of human jobs that AI will complement. This will enable people to do what they do better and more efficiently.

One example is voice-activated robots that help carers lift patients. The machine does the brute physical work, allowing the carer do more caring — the social, empathetic work that only humans can do.

Another is chatbots that help doctors reach diagnoses faster — enabling more patients to be seen and in less time and reducing the strain on health services. 

Streamlined workflow

It’s in this complementary AI field that Loyal fits in (the clue’s in the name). We don’t want to replace journalists — far from it. Our vision is an AI tool that helps journalists do their jobs better.

Loyal is there to inspire and inform journalists as they write articles, updating them about breaking news or suggesting relevant social media content — enabling them to do more writing and less tiresome searching as they go.

This helps them streamline their workflow and cuts out some of the more mundane tasks involved in creating an online article. 

The result — up-to-date, asset-rich content created in a fraction of the time.

And in a world that needs quality journalism more than ever, better content in less time can only be a good thing.

So next time your hear about the robots taking our jobs, remember that that’s only part of the story. AI can work with us too.