Machine Learning (ML) is becoming ubiquitous in the business world, leaving us with the impression that humans will shortly be replaced by Artificial Intelligence (AI). While at first glance this seems to be true, upon closer inspection this is not at all the case. Certainly, AI-powered automation will continue to eliminate jobs, such as Amazon’s 75,000 robots used to optimize the company’s warehouse logistics, but this is not new. It is always cheaper and more efficient for robots to move packages around a warehouse. So let’s say that humans are being replaced by automation rather than AI.

On the other hand, AI, and ML in particular help us analyze large quantities of data (or big data if you prefer buzz words). How exactly does ML work? Who does the learning in Machine Learning? The answer is: humans. Yes, Machine Learning algorithms rely on datasets used for learning, which are created and generated by humans. The more complex the problem, the more data the algorithm needs. This is an aspect of AI that we do not talk about very often, since it is not very fashionable. It puts the focus back on artificial, rather than intelligence. In fact, Machine Learning is a form of what we call weak AI. Instead of saying that it is not intelligent, we prefer to say that it is of limited intelligence. Imagine saying to someone that they are of limited intelligence? In fact, this is another way of saying that they are in fact unintelligent. The same parallel can be drawn with computers.

Will AI replace humans?

No, as you have understood, we will always need humans to create datasets and generate data used to teach the machines. For now, AI is not destroying jobs. Rather, it is increasing our capacity for analysis and can even create jobs. Like all technological revolutions, it will change the way we live, learn and work.

Written by Bernard EUVERTE, CEO founder of WorkIT Software