Cautiously optimistic

Only Humans Need Apply

Hat’s off to China Airlines! I certainly enjoyed my dalliance with them on their new non-stop service from Taipei to London. Naturally the five-hour time saving compared to the Eva route was the main reason for this, but I would also add that the facilities in Premium Economy were a notch above those of their competitor (probably not surprisingly given that it was a new plane.)

China Airlines Premium Economy seatThe service was decent as well, but I would still give Eva the edge on that – though perhaps this is because I have an inbuilt bias on that score having become so used to the style of Eva cabin staff over my many years of flying with the airline.

China Airlines Taipei to London

As I’d hoped, I did complete Only Humans Need Apply on the flight. This is an excellent book that provides some useful guidance on how to prevent your job being replaced by automation and how to harness AI technologies and applications to make your work more economically valuable and intellectually stimulating. The secret, in very simple terms, is to focus on figuring out how to work more effectively with machines rather than wasting precious energy and time fighting against them. The AI train has already left the station. There’s no way to stop it even if you press the emergency stop button.

The book also includes some warnings to governments about the need to put the right policies in place in order to prepare their citizens for the inevitable disruptions that will be caused by job losses resulting from automation. Its key recommendations include, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, improving education, building a strong ecosystem to promote new innovation and new job creation, and encouraging existing enterprises to implement higher levels of augmentation rather than simply cutting costs by automating the jobs of their employees out of existence.

Like the authors of Only Humans Need Apply, I’m cautiously optimistic that the proliferation of AI won’t necessarily cause the social apocalypse that some of the doom mongers are predicting. But, as they so eloquently explain in the book, it’s the responsibility of everyone in business, science, education, and government to step up our efforts to make sure that AI benefits the world we live in rather than destroys it.

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