عصر الفزع!.. هل يدمر الذكاء الاصطناعي وظائفنا ويؤثر على دولنا العربية؟
“Machines don't fall ill, they don't need to be isolated to protect their peers, they don't need to take time off work.” These are not my words, they are rather the words of Daniel Susskind, Professor of Economics at King's College London, author of the famous book "A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How Should We Respond?", Principal Investigator at the Institute for Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at Oxford University, and yes, guys, there is a whole institute in Europe for those Enjoy the Luxurious Ethics and Values of Artificial Intelligence. As you saw in the intro, I have been recently having fun by chatting with chat gpt, which many of you know and may have tried, for those who don't know it: Chatgpt is, in short, a chatbot hacker produced by Open AI, launched by the company last November 2022, It belongs to the honorable GPT-3 genre, which is a group of automated language models that use deep Learning techniques with massive databases to produce long and varied texts that are pretty similar to what humans do write.
I sought to test its ability by asking it to write an episode script for the Economic Informant on a particular topic. But, the result was really poor and not worth showing, so I decided to simplify the matter and asked it few questions, discussing various economic topics, and the fact is: its answers were also poor, just artificial intelligence answers, without any hint neither of talent, nor creativity, crystal clear academic answers of a large database. Just an information-packed mechanism with ABSOLUTELY NO creative analysis, synthesis, and consistency. Just Zero as said by Mr. Ramadan Mabrouk Abul Alamein Hamouda… Of course, this does not diminish the capabilities of the bot, which performs highly well in the tasks of facilitating research, simplifying complex information, providing data, and generating ideas.
Indeed, this is also the opinion of Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor of economics and information technology at Stanford University, who has likened generative AI programs to a writer's calculator. Nevertheless, we would like to be reassured trying to answer the question that is widely spread whenever a new trend regarding artificial intelligence pops up in the circles of machine learning appears, the important question that Professor Daniel is trying to answer and of great concern to the world: Will automation eliminate the jobs of many people? Will artificial intelligence lead to widespread unemployment? This terrifying scenario is already taking place in one of the largest companies in the world, Amazon, which laid off 18,000 employees this past January alone, and one and a half million workers in various sectors, according to Cathy Wood, CEO of Ark invest, to CNBC. Amazon is currently adding a thousand robots per day to its workforce, and it currently has more than half a million robots. Nevertheless, Kathy predicts that the number of Amazon robots will exceed the number of workers by 2030. In this context we must ask some important questions: Does such processes apply to us as well, or, are these sumptuous issues of the leading world countries? If so[being replaced by artificial intelligence], how could this be happening in the future? What are the most threatened jobs? Does this threat affect all professions? How would the labor market be like if these modern technologies take over our jobs? How can we as individuals prepare for that? This is a sample of the important and exciting questions that we will be discussing in today's episode.
But first of all, I would like to remind you of that percentage right next to me, which is the percentage of viewers who have not yet subscribed to the channel [until last January]. Your subscription is pretty important and helps us develop our content. When you subscribe, you simply tell YouTube that you like this content, so it will be shown to more people all over the globe. I would also like to remind you that all previous episodes are subtitled in English. Do not forget to share them with your non-Arabic speaking friends and get them to know the channel.
Now, Let's dive into the realm of automation and artificial intelligence that could make us unemployed. I am Ashraf Ibrahim and this is the economic informant… One of the most important programming languages in today's technology is the Python language. I am personally thinking of learning it.
It is one of the programming languages used in machine learning and artificial intelligence. It literally prepares you for the future. By the way, there are Arab websites that offer comprehensive courses in the Arabic language, such as Hsoub Academy. Hsoub offers courses in different programming sections and application development. By the way, they start with you from scratch and move to practical application, thus implementing real projects. You can also present your projects in any job interviews. ..
And if you want to work as a freelancer, they have Khamsat and Mostaql, which are considered the largest freelancing platforms in the Arab world. They will help you find a job as well. Thank God, we were able to get a $100 redeem coupon from them for the first 10 participants in any course. It is shown in front of you on the screen, and it is also available in the video description below, in addition to Facebook comments. Now please give me your full attention..
This is not the first time to witness such a status of dependency considering automation taking over our jobs. This controversial issue is not out of the blue. This issue arose in 1580, when Queen Elizabeth I of England refused to grant a patent for the "stocking frame" automatic sewing machine invented by William Lee. Why? Elizabeth was worried about the impact of the machine on the jobs and standard of living of workers in the hand-made sock-weaving industry. Therefore, we will find that the protests of British textile workers and French silk manufacturers against the emergence of textile machines at the beginning of the 19th century were among the distinctive features of the European industrial revolution, and this shows that fears of machines taking the plunge over man are old and recurrent, and the twentieth century has had witnessed in particular many stations in the process of "Automation", such, more calls appeared warning of the intrusion of machines and their impact on our jobs.
The most important of which occurred after World War II in the fifties and early sixties, when several factories began to turn into machines dispensing with labor, led by the iconic engine factory of the giant Ford company, which turned into an almost completely automated factory in Brook Park, Ohio, causing dozens of thousands of workers to lose their jobs. The US economy back then entered into a major depression known historically as the automation depression, at that time US President John Kennedy made a statement declaring that automation is the biggest challenge for jobs. Okay, is it that bad, Mr. Ashraf?
The fact is, no. This brief, very rapid history of automation is optimistic, don't be surprised, the final effects of all this on labor markets have been pretty good, and the total human jobs that these technologies have created over the long term have been far better than those taken over and lost. Some of those Jobs are completely new jobs that didn't exist before the advent of these technologies. Let's ask the basic question: Will artificial intelligence in its current development take over our jobs? Actually, this is a hard question and has sparked a state of controversy between two major groups.
By virtue of my studies and work, I myself actually belong to one of them. The first group is the team of technologists: Silicon Valley seniors like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, their views are of much dim, and their viewpoints always take that approach: people should prepare, robots and artificial intelligence will take over their positions. Technology not only makes plenty of people unemployed, it also makes a large percentage of those people unemployed forever. As their experiences, education, and qualifications are quite far from the appropriations of the labor markets, which acquire different and high qualifications of those unemployed. A more critical issue for the technical group is that, unlike the previous waves of technology, which mainly affected the blue-collar jobs of unskilled and skilled workers, the next wave will also affect the jobs of white-collar office workers. In otherwords, jobs of doctors, engineers, lawyers, and even managers could be taken over by robots. They are no longer safe. That's what the techs say.
As for the second group, that one of economists, those profound intellectuals who hear the technicians' warnings everywhere, yet they are way different from them, as they think that this is not the first time that we witness warnings and fears that machines take over human jobs. Well, why are economists calm and optimistic? What is their argument for that? In order to illustrate, let me give a pretty important example related to computers or your PC, through which you often see me: There is a study on the screen by the McKinsey International Consulting Corporation, it is mentioned simply that computers when first appeared, caused to erase 3.5 million jobs in the United States, among them accountants, secretaries, typists, and others. Such a number of hand worker jobs, when has the computer taken over them for ever? Between 1980 and 2015 Well, what is good about that? Optimistically, the same computer technology created more than 19 million new jobs in the same period, meaning more than five times the jobs it erased. New jobs in several sectors, from the manufacture of computers themselves to the manufacture of related programs and applications, to e-commerce and selling through the Internet. Notice that we are talking about a huge number, guys.
We are talking about one-fifth of the total number of jobs that the American economy created during that period, which was more than 87 million jobs, meaning that nearly one in every five or six jobs was due to the computer boom. The optimism of the group of economists makes us ask an important question: How can technology replace human labor while it may create new jobs? Focus on what I'm going to say because it's of crucial importance… It is true that any new technology wipes off the jobs it is about to take over in order to do it in a better and more accurate way, however, it opens the door directly to a group of other jobs related to that technology at the same time. In other words, machines that took over the worker jobs in factories, though wiped off the jobs of the workers, but they created other jobs. Such as manufacturing, developing, maintaining and trading these machines. The computer, for example, wiped off the jobs of many accountants and secretaries who were carrying out somewhat primitive tasks, but it created a whole world that includes innovation, manufacture and screens development, processors and technical components other than the software aspect of programs and applications .. But this is only one side of the story though.
One of the main goals of promoting any new technology is to increase productivity. In short, productivity is the amount of goods and services that each worker produces per hour of work. The factory or sector whose productivity increases will have greater opportunities for expansion and thus create new jobs.
Increasing productivity also means that there are higher wages for workers and lower prices for commodities, meaning that purchasing abilities will be greater and thus new production cycles to meet the demand on commodities. More jobs, better profits, and so on… It also means less working time and more free time. In developed economies, for example, the average of weekly working hours per person has now decreased by 50% compared to the beginning of the twentieth century, paid vacation days have increased, and the number of part-time workers and working less has also increased. Well, who should we believe now? Seniors of tech pessimists who keep telling us things are getting worse? Or the economists who consider that it is not that dim and that we will find better jobs with better wages and less working hours? The truth is that we have to believe both groups.. and I will tell you why. History supports the argument of economists and shows that the automation revolutions have had good results in the long run, but we can never ignore the viewpoints of technicians who warned that this time is different and that the automation wave is the most dangerous so far because they also have good reasons. We are talking about the incursion of machines now, we are not talking about a group of traditional machines and devices that carry out repetitive manual work in factories, as was the case in the past, rather we are talking about intelligent machines that has the ability to learn from huge databases, the ability to drive cars and planes, trade in the stock market, diagnose some diseases, help prescribe medications for treatment sometimes, and even have arranged conversations with very high efficiency..
This means that the scope of threatened jobs has become much wider than in previous historical stages.. In general, we are not talking about tens or even hundreds of thousands of factory workers or people with regular jobs, but we are currently talking about millions of engineers, accountants, financial service providers, health care providers, and others. Most of the university graduates already. Pessimistic technologists warn us that the rapid development of computer processors, artificial intelligence and artificial neural networks is much faster than we expected, that is, the expectations that exist today may simply change 180 degrees next year.
In 2004, for example, a prestigious study predicted that artificial intelligence would never be able to understand human speech and language in order to communicate with them. Of course, I do not need to tell you now what happened to that study, as currently each one of us has a complete electronic voice assistant on his very regular phone. They can ask him/her anything with their voice, they would understand, and respond as well. Hey Siri, “Hello, open youtube please”? Also a question for the Google Assistant "Android - the most widespread". Technologists also agree that recent innovations are not offering jobs as much as they did in the past. Wondering how is that? Let's illustrate that with an example… Do you remember Blockbuster, the American home movie and video game rental company? That company was at the peak of its success in 2004, [pay attention to these numbers] the company employed 84,000 employees back then in more than 9,000 stores around the world and achieved revenues of about $6 billion.
However, the company declared bankruptcy in 2010, after failing to adapt to market changes as it could not keep pace with market alteration for the time for rental videotapes had passed back then, and the watch-on-demand companies such as Netflix proliferated. Thus, the broadcasting giant, Netflix, stood up over the ruins of the blockbuster, reaching 31.6 billion dollars in revenues in the year 2022 alone. How many employees did it acquire? Only about 13 thousand employees. That's more than five times Blockbuster's earnings using almost one-sixth of the number of employees.
According to that team of technicians, the ratio between the profits generated by the new technologies and the number of job opportunities they provide decreases over time. It is true that modern technologies may improve our lives, but they do not create jobs regularly. So, what jobs are at risk? In 2017, a profound study conducted by the British accounting and consulting giant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicted that 30% of jobs in Britain, 38% in America, 35% in Germany and 21% in Japan will be at risk of automation or automated transformation by 2030. Subsequently, a serious question rose: How could Pricewater experts identify jobs and sectors at risk? Well, what happened is that the Pricewater researchers categorized the tasks of each job into five main categories: manual, routine, computational, communicative, and language tasks. Through this classification and comparison with the capabilities of machines and known artificial intelligence, they were able to evaluate each job on the automation index.
That's to say that if your job is mainly a set of tasks that can be easily performed by machines, such as manual or routine tasks or some computational tasks, the more you are at risk. On the other hand, the more your job contains administrative, communication or creative tasks, the less risk there will be, and so on… That almost the same methodology, but in a slightly more detailed way, was used by another McKinsey study released in May 2018, entitled "Skill Transformation... Automation and the Future of the Workforce." McKinsey researchers gathered 25 skills required in the labor market and classified them under five main capabilities: manual and vocational skills, basic or simple cognitive, advanced cognitive, social and emotional and finally technical skills, and compared the available working hours for each type of these skills in 2016 and the expected number of hours for them by the year 2030. The results, as certainly expected, are that the replacement will mainly occur in jobs that depend on craft skills and simple cognitive skills, while jobs that need social, communication and technical skills will not be safe, but the demand for them will increase significantly.
If we look at those numbers, we will discover, for example, that workers in Europe and America spent 203 billion working hours performing manual and craft work in 2016. The number is expected to decrease to 174 billion hours in 2030, a decrease of 14%. This category includes a very wide range of professions such as craftsmen, drivers, car mechanics, food preparation workers, factory workers, security guards and others. Moving to simple cognitive tasks, we will find that the number of working hours will decrease from 115 billion hours in 2016 to only 97 billion hours in 2030, a decrease of 15%, and this category includes jobs such as cashiers, customer service employees and data entry workers. As for the category of advanced cognitive skills, which includes jobs such as doctors, accountants, financial analysts, lawyers, writers of all kinds, human resources specialists, and also artists and musicians, the hours available to those will not decrease, but they will not increase significantly, from 140 to 151 billion hours in 2030, in short, their position is relatively stable according to the results.
As for the lucky category, it is of those with communicative and emotional skills, such as managers, executives, teachers, coaches, business planners, and also sales and marketing representatives. Artificial intelligence is not of great understanding in these fields, therefore, the demand on them will be increasing, thus, their working hours will go from 119 billion hours, up to 148 billion hours, an increase of 24%. Finally, the most fortunate and safest in the future are those with technical skills, application developers, network specialists, advanced data analysts, engineers, robotics and artificial intelligence experts, whose share in the labor market will rise from 73 billion hours to 113 billion hours in 2030, a staggering increase of approximately 55%. So, what makes the percentage of jobs likely to disappear due to technology differ from one country to another? What makes a difference between America, Britain, Germany and Japan? What is the difference between them and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco and other Arab countries, for example? Look guys, there are many factors that control the pace of automation of any economy, the first of which is the nature of the economy itself. For example, automation requirements in major industrial economies such as Germany and Japan are different from those in service economies such as the United States and Britain. Even in similar economies, the nature of the same sector makes a big difference.
If we take, for example, the financial services sectors in America and Britain, we will find that the Price Coopers study, mentioned a while ago, predicted that the rate of automation in this sector in America will reach 61%, while it will only be 32% in Britain, which is almost the half. The reason for this is the diversity in the composition of the same sector in the two countries. The average level of qualifying education in this sector in Britain is higher than its counterpart in America. This means that most of the workers in Britain are professionals who mainly work on the global financial markets in London, while in In the United States, a large portion of the workers in the same sector are working at a low local level and need fewer skills, therefore it is easy to replace them in favor of AI. The same story applies to Germany and Japan, both are industrialized economies, but the German industrial sector's ability to automate is much higher than its Japanese counterpart, and this is because Japanese workers actually do less manual tasks than their peers in Germany.
The good news is: in our developing Arab countries the pace of automatic transformation in many sectors will be a little slower than that of major economies such as America, Britain and Germany. This does not mean that we are immune, but it does mean that if the situation breaks out, we would be affected much later, which gives us extra time to adapt to the changes, whether for people like you and me who need to arm themselves with skills suitable for the changing labor market, or for countries that need to take proactive measures in anticipation of the repercussions of this transformation. I am finally done, yet, I would like to ask you for something as usual. Please write down in the comments below what your job is, and whether you think it is going to be affected by the undergoing automation wave or not.
Do not forget to also participate in the Python programming course from Hsoub Academy, to be able to take part in the future of AI. I will follow all your comments as usual, and do not forget to subscribe to the channel as said, and if you like this episode, hit the like button and share the video. One more important thing is to tell your friends and loved ones about us, whether Arabs or foreigners, they may like the episode also, and please get them to know the channel. Goodbye….