My 5-year-old daughter created her first piece of digital content/media this weekend. She told me and other family members to act out different characters (including a princess, a police officer, etc.) and then she photographed us as she narrated a story that went along with the pictures. We then assembled her pictures and content to make her first e-book!!!
I was proud of my daughter because she initiated this idea without being told or instructed on how to do this. In creating this e-book, she demonstrated the fundamental difference between human and artificial intelligence. And she demonstrated the most critical skill for the workforce of the future to learn in the age of AI: CREATIVITY.
Let’s be honest… Stripping the hype away… AI legitimately can automate the lion’s share of jobs in our economy (at least half). HOW? Most jobs in our economy are very operational, repetitive and involve a limited predictable set of possible decisions. Many jobs do not require creative insight and problem-solving. Many jobs define employee success as one’s ability to diligently follow a predefined process or protocol without deviation. Think about how repetitive the job of a garbage truck driver or a security guard is! Think about health care operations! And manufacturing! So many of the jobs in this space are extremely routine, repetitive and are ripe candidates for complete or partial automation using AI.
Some truly alarming estimates from credible sources such as the economist project that as many as 60% of jobs could be automated with AI! How will we put 60% of our workforce to work once their routine and repetitive jobs have been automated away? What jobs will remain?
Let’s be honest again… AI software algorithms will NEVER be able to CREATE the way that humans can. NONE can create novel-original content the way my 5-year-old daughter can. I know that many people out there would argue with me on this statement. Here is the opposing perspective:
The opposing view: “No, Jaekob! That’s not true! We could create an AI that generates original content just like your 5-year-old daughter can! It’s simple! All you need to do is create a Generative Adversarial Network (aka. GAN) and train it with a bunch of e-book data. Then you can instrument some randomness in the cost function so that it creates something totally novel! Just like your daughter!”
My view: “Yes, this is true. But if The AI depends on a data scientist to feed the AI digital-media training data then this is really no more than a sophisticated version of photoshop visual effects. All the AI does is just regurgitate a mix-mash of creative content that was previously created by humans (the true creators).
So who is truly the creator? The human or the AI?
Answer: THE HUMAN. We are the masters of these AI tools because they depend on US to CREATE them and they depend on US to feed them OUR CREATIVITY (so that they can pretend to mimic it — which is not truly so creative).
What does this mean for the future of our economy?
Many educational programs functions as “a system” — a system that gives you bonus points for doing what you’re told and that penalizes you when you don’t do what you’re told to do. Effectively the education program driven by measurable grades is very similar to a machine learning COST FUNCTION. If we use a COST FUNCTION to evaluate our students and the rising generation, then we are effectively training them the same way we train machine learning algorithms. AND SINCE ML ALGORITHMS ARE NOT TRULY CREATIVE WE ARE INADVERTENTLY TRAINING THEM TO BE NON-CREATIVE!
We are training them to be rule followers. We are training them to be widgets in a system. We are training them to fulfill non-creative operational repetitive work tasks…
WHICH IN THE FUTURE OF AI IS AT RISK OF BEING COMPLETELY AUTOMATED!!! If we use a cost function to train our workforce then we are setting up our next generation for unemployment because the AI will be competing for their jobs.
So how do we need to “retrain” our education system?
As educators, as parents, as leaders, we need to empower the rising generation to CREATE. Creativity is the one thing that the AI machines cannot do! This could be an e-book like my daughter made or a robot, a youtube channel, a treehouse, a small business on Etsy, a website, an essay, a novel, a play, a painting, the number of possibilities is infinite. It could be as simple as a lego castle, a craft or a DIY toy car. Every business that powers our economy was envisioned and created by someone.
Now the time has come for more of us to become creators.
All human beings, especially young children, have an innate desire to create something. That desire to create needs only to be nurtured. Creation is how the human race went from being cavemen to being what we are now.
It seems that we have advanced a lot in our current era, however, the human race has so much potential to go so much further and innovate in ways we cannot yet imagine. AI is the gateway to this future because it will empower a greater percentage of our population to shift away from being “system operators” to becoming creators.
AI is the gateway to this future because it will empower a greater percentage of our population to shift away from being “system operators” to becoming creators.
If my children say that they want to make a cake, make a book, make a business, etc., I will support them in these endeavors. I will be their first cofounder. This is how I will do my part to prepare the rising generation for the future of AI.