Robots are in the news a lot these days, and if it seems a little hard to believe, I was right there with you until they started writing for the Associated Press.
That’s right. They are taking over my job.
The Associated Press is using an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program to write their more data-heavy articles (such as corporate earnings reports), and have been doing so for a couple of years. The program is called Wordsmith (generated by Automated Insights), and “uses natural language generation to turn data into a written, plain-language narrative,” just like I have been doing for all my college career.
At the risk of sounding a little racist (speciesist? Tech-ist?), I say go home, Computron, and quit taking all our jobs!
Apparently, the breakthrough in AI that allows computers to acquire the skill I have spent years developing is called “deep learning.” The computer uses algorithms to learn things that were not specifically programmed into its system. The Google team that developed the technology tested it by feeding the AI YouTube videos. Predictably, the AI learned a lot about cats.
Facebook has also been using AI (or bots) to sniff out fake news articles, locate terrorist activity on its site, and identify suicidal individuals, all tasks that humans have had a lot of trouble managing on such a large-scale platform.
So far AI is being used for big chunks of data-saturated grunt work. But they can’t really replicate human emotion. Right? I still have that going for me. Right?
Affectiva is helping AI learn to recognize feelings
Maybe robots can’t love (that’s right, Wordsmith, I said it. How does that feel? You don’t know, do you?), but they are developing the ability to empathize. Affectiva is a program from MIT that can recognize human emotion from reading your face. While this sounds a little creepy, the idea is that it could improve recommendation software for sites like Netflix and Google, and even predict content that will go viral. The digital world is a cold and impersonal one, and emotional recognition software aims to bridge the gap between information and feeling.
Personally, I already get creeped out when Google uses my first name or asks me about something I don’t remember telling it. I can’t imagine if it started asking me why I am sad/angry/excited.
In conclusion, I am preferable to a robot because:
|Turns data into sentences||Turns data into sentences|
|Knows about cats||Knows about cats|
|Can’t even love||Loves cats and my husband|
|Doesn’t even know how soft cats feel||Pets kitties every day|
|Can empathize||Is sort of empathetic|
|Will spy on you||Won’t spy on you|