National Geographic: Robots Are No Enemies

The German edition of National Geographic features in its September 2017 issue a short statement by Chris Boos on artificial intelligence’s (AI) role for society in the future. It is part of a series on AI which features different expert opinions on the topic. Boos is portrayed as the optimist. Boos fully supports AI and the automation of processes. While the debates often focus on AIs gaining human-like qualities, the current level of development is not close to attaining these capabilities. Thus, the discussions should rather focus on the already existing impact of AI and robotics: “Today, already 80% of tasks that humans perform could be handled by machines”. This would free time and capital so that humans would be able to reinvent themselves. So far, all industrial revolutions have diminished jobs in service. Boos expects this trend to reverse. Only through human service, companies can make a difference in a world of uniform and costless production by AI. This is why he predicts an increase in creative jobs and a growth of the service industry. A robot could potentially hand over keys to a hotel room but is not able to hold an actual conversation with a human. In this context, interpersonal competencies are increasingly important. This does not require anybody to be an expert, but simply a nice person.

Finally, Boos remarks: “In Europe, we like to consider robots as our enemies. We should stop that. They are tools opening new opportunities for us”.

Arago Redaktion 4. September 2017

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