Page 6 - CSA Speaker Bulletin September 2017 | CSA Celebrity Speakers
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    Dr Rodney Brooks

Apopular meme in both the                 Artificial Intelligence and deep
            press and populist politics   learning are helping robots get
            is that automation is eating  better at physical tasks, and hence
the jobs of the working class. While      helping automation. But we tend
there is disruption in some industries,   to overestimate just what AI and
we see in Europe, North America,          learning algorithms can achieve in
Japan, and now China, a shortage          the short term of the next decade or
of labor for many manual jobs. With       two. Current technologies are good
pressures against immigration,            at classification tasks and in learning
rising educational and aspirational       patterns in certain classes of data
levels, and a demographic shift to        (e.g. in continuous signals such as
older workers, neither increases          from a microphone, a temperature
in wages nor today's operational          sensor, or an electrical current meter),
automation is enough to fill the gaps     but not in some others (e.g. there
that are opening. With our aging          are still challenges in understanding
populations we are going to be faced      complex three dimensional
with productivity crises across food      relationships, something that is
production, manufacturing, fulfillment    important for robotics).Thus over the
operations, and in elder care itself.     last five years we have seen enormous
There lie incredible opportunities for    progress in speech interfaces, in
those who can match today's barely        optimizing advertisement selection,
adequate technologies to practical        and in operating an automobile under
business models.                          reasonably steady conditions.

                                          What people generally do not
                                          appreciate is that each of our AI
                                          systems is a point solution, an idiot
                                          savant that has no knowledge of how
                                          its task is part of a bigger system,
                                          nor when it could or should be flexible
                                          in working with other unknown-to-it
                                          components of the big picture. The

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