Perhaps we shouldn’t be so afraid of robots taking our jobs after all.
While automation is becoming more common in some industries, humans still have a big leg-up on the ever-increasing robotic competition, Manuela Veloso, international expert in AI and robotics, told Tech Insider.
One of the biggest advantages humans have over robots is that humans have a tremendous breadth of capabilities, while robots tend to only exceed in one specific area, Veloso, who is also a professor of computer science and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, said.
“I can scramble eggs, I can cook squash, I can speak five languages, I can teach AI. In no way are we getting close to having a single robot, a single computer, a single mind that can do all of these things,” she said.
“I do believe that we are very far from having machines that exhibit human-level intelligence,” she added.
Veloso has spent a good chunk of her career developing autonomous robots, so she knows a great deal about their limitations. However, she’s also always trying give them more capabilities.
She recently won a grant from the Future of Life Institute to develop AI systems that can explain why they made certain decisions, a skillset needed for robots if we are going to increasingly rely on them for things like driving or caretaking.
However, Veloso said that just because humans have a wider range of abilities, doesn’t mean that robots won’t exceed humans in certain areas. For example, we are already seeing robots exceed humans in manufacturing a specific product or doing a specific task, like stocking shelves.
“If you think about single capabilities, I do believe that robots will match humans at some point. Now whether they will surpass humans, I do not think that is the case,” she said.
Veloso acknowledges that we will increasingly compete with robots, but says that it won’t be much different than how we already compete with other humans. Just like some people exceed others in certain abilities, robots will exceed humans in certain things and visa versa.
“We, as humans, surpass each other. Einstein surpassed me tremendously in terms of scientific intelligence, we humans are all about the diversity of capabilities,” she said. “We just have to acknowledge that within this realm there will also eventually be robots. So robots will proceed in parallel with humanity.”
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