Ray Dalio, Founding President of Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, manages nearly $160 billion in assets. According to him, no one around him is able to run his business as well as he is. The only collaborator to whom he would be inclined to entrust reindeer is not a being made up of flesh and blood, but an impalpable entity, an artificial intelligence.
In 2015, Dalio recruited David Ferucci from IBM, known in particular as the father of Watson Artificial Intelligence. Ferucci was placed at the head of a unit of developers and mathematicians, in order to design this artificial intelligence and this with a budget of several million dollars. This AI is not only designed to replace Dalio, but also to sublimate him. What is the point of creating a human double when it is possible to create a machine with superhuman capacities capable of making choices dictated by reason (or rather mathematical logic) and not by emotions. In the Wall Street Journal, Ray Dalio was recently moved by the fact that human beings too often let themselves be disturbed by their emotions in their professional lives, which has the effect of disturbing their vision and obscuring their actions. The advantage of AI is that it only acts out of logic and does not link any affect to it.
The arrival of this AI is expected in 2022. Dalio believes that most strategic decisions relating to the life of the company will have to be made by him. This machine will be used to recruit and dismiss Bridgewater Associates employees. If this facet of a finance tycoon seems to concern us only from a very far distance, it illustrates a trend that will accelerate in the coming months and years. Human Management by AI.
Humanus ex machina
The machine already supports us everywhere. Only a minority do not spend a day without using their smartphone, computer or tablet. The machine is already almost grafted to our fingertips. For the moment, it is able to carry out small basic tasks for us, or scholarly calculations at a speed that exceeds us. She surpasses us with many of her abilities. But can she replace us? The capacities of the machines and of course AIs are growing exponentially every day. Will we all soon be obsolete? Will the AI be able to do everything better than us, faster and at a lower cost? Nothing is more certain. But not right away.
It is time to prepare for change. A ghost threat is approaching. A threat we have created ourselves. A new predator, which is likely to rise to the top of the food chain very quickly.
This predator named AI
We are at the dawn of a new revolution. It will not be popular or industrial. It is a revolution as important as when humans decided to stand up straight and walk on both feet without the help of their arms and hands. AI will challenge our way of life and our life in a more global way. And, of course, it will impact the economic sector.
A 2013 Oxford University study reviews 702 types of jobs in the United States, and reports that nearly one in two American jobs (47%) are at high risk of being affected by technology and 19% are at medium risk. In total, 66% of jobs could disappear in the next twenty years. But, much more problematic, according to the report published by the Pew Research Center in August 2014, only 52% of experts believe that automation will create more jobs than it destroys. In short, according to them, AI will destroy the classic process of creative destruction.
The concept of creative destruction was born in Nietzsche's writings and was adapted to the economy by Joseph Aloïs Schumpeter at the beginning of the 20th century. Schumpeter in his book, the theory of economic evolution published in 2012 referred to this concept in these terms: "New business is constantly being created, driven by profit. There is a complete reorganization of the industry, with increased production, fierce competition, disappearance of obsolete companies, possible layoffs."
Classically, the creative destruction process is defined as the permanent movement of destruction of activities related to old innovations and the creation of new activities related to new innovations. It is the natural life cycle adapted to the Economy as a whole. New elements, goods or services are expected to replace old ones that are considered obsolete and more adapted to modern life.
For the first time in centuries or even millennia, it is the human being who is at stake in this replacement threat. His creation will threaten him. An AI will soon be much more profitable than any Human in many areas and will be able to generate much higher profits. A machine does not know up and down. It is linear. She does not sleep, she does not complain, she is not paid, she does not take leave, she is without nationality, she cannot strike.
It is not premature to start digging graves and ordering chrysanthemums for lawyers, accountants, doctors, radiologists or of course drivers or other truck drivers. However, neither law, nor medicine, nor transport will disappear. Our salvation will come from the mutation, adaptation and evolution of the human being to this new paradigm.
The process of human evolution accelerated by AI
Since then, Humans have faced many challenges to survive. The initially ultra rudimentary living conditions that exposed him to cold, heat, bad weather, lack of food and predators. Humans have invented ways to overcome their difficulties. He has been able to design structures and procedures to protect himself from his relative weakness in order to defend his main quality, his greatest strength, his intelligence.
The main strength of a human being is not his muscles, his size, his row of teeth, it is his brain. His intelligence. Thanks to his first laptop computer (long before the invention of the MacBook), more powerful than any laptop or Watson, the Human being was able to design solid houses, invent agriculture, transmit his knowledge through writing and dialogue, but also by developing a structure allowing the transmission of knowledge to be systematised: the School.
According to Dr. Laurent Alexandre, the school system is broken and has become an outdated and obsolete model for training the new generations who will cohabit with AI. Teachers proceed in the same way as they did 100 years ago, when an operating theatre was transformed.
"We must therefore replace rotten schools with schools with teachers who are as well paid as they are in countries like Singapore.
AI in its current form is incapable of dealing with transversality, the humanities, multidisciplinarity, group work, critical thinking. This implies reversing the educational paradigm, which is far too technical today.
Children need to read a lot of books and develop their critical thinking skills so that they are above and not below artificial intelligence.
The AI is unable to have critical thinking and common sense. For several decades and for complicated technical reasons. So that's where it comes in.
The School of tomorrow must no longer train parrots. Students will have to be able to reason on their own while building bridges between subjects or disciplines to cross their thinking. Knowing how to recite pages and pages by heart, assimilate them, know them, will always be a useful but totally insufficient basis because the AI will always be able to do more than you.
What it will not be able to achieve for several decades, however, is to cross a philosophical reflection with Economics and Law. Too many technical parameters involved. The Human being will therefore be called upon to mutate in order to survive. Humans have created their own challenges. As if to surpass himself, he had needed to generate his own new "enemy". A voracious enemy ready to devour entire pants of the Economy, millions of jobs and according to some like the late Stephen Hawking, ready to subjugate us.
The AI creates new Phoenixes
AI should destroy many trades. But it should open up new opportunities and challenges. Not to mention transhumanism and the quest for immortality, there are space travel, the reduction or even destruction of disease, the optimal use of the world's wealth.
If the jobs of coachman, blacksmith or tooth puller have disappeared, they have not really disappeared, they have mutated. The rattle turned into a Uber driver, the blacksmith into a garage mechanic and the tooth puller into a dental surgeon. There are already many thoughts on the subject, but the measures taken are currently being reduced to nothing.
A year ago, LREM MP Cédric Villani issued his report on artificial intelligence, which gives great importance to the future impact of AI on employment. For him, everything will be done through training, in order to enable each individual to face the changes to come but also to see new talents emerge.
This report recommends that it is essential to focus on training. Thus, experiments could be carried out "in order to build devices that target certain populations of individuals, whose jobs are considered to be most at risk of automation and for whom it will be complex to initiate their professional transition alone.
Many trades will not completely disappear. Roots will substitute. They will mutate to adapt to a society that has undergone major changes. In short, the old profession that has lost its usefulness will disappear, and reappear in a more robust form. It seems that Schumpeter's Phoenixes are not about to die out.