In this sick image provided by NASA, the badass members of NASA’s Perseverance rover team are losing their minds as the first mind-blowing images come through after the freakin’ spacecraft nailed the landing on freakin’ Mars, bro. This all went down on February 18, 2021, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in sunny Pasadena, California. Just look at their faces, man. They’re all like, “We’re on freakin’ Mars, dude!”
So, since the release of ChatGPT back in the day of 2022, there’s been a ton of talk about the ethical hazards that come with artificial intelligence, bro. The media is freaking out about killer robots that want to annihilate us, and the World Economic Forum is predicting that machines are gonna swipe our jobs. Tech companies are laying off employees left and right while investing in AI tools to boost productivity. Hollywood is even on strike, man, trying to protect their jobs and their own images, you know what I’m saying? And don’t even get me started on the whole bias and meaningless job situation – it’s a total sh*tshow.
But, check this out, there’s a better way to approach AI in the workplace, man. And trust me, I’ve seen it firsthand. As a sociologist who rolls with NASA’s robotic spacecraft teams, I can tell you that these scientists and engineers are using AI-powered rovers to explore the friggin’ surface of Mars. But it ain’t some far-out sci-fi fantasy, bro. It’s an epic example of how humans and machines can join forces to achieve a common goal. Instead of replacing us, these robots become our partners, extending and complimenting our own minds and abilities. And in the process, they totally sidestep all the ethical nightmares that come with AI. It’s a win-win, man!
See, we’ve been stuck in this mindset of thinking that AI is gonna take over and replace us, like it’s some sort of robo-apocalypse. But that’s just a bunch of bullsh*t, bro. Automation doesn’t actually save money. In fact, it just widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It gets rid of low-wage jobs, but it also puts more pressure on high-wage workers who end up having to do more for their money. And those shiny productivity tools that are supposed to make our lives easier? They just make us work more for the big man, man. It’s a rigged game.
But here’s the dope alternative, man: mixed autonomy systems. That’s when humans and robots work together, bro. Like self-driving cars cruising alongside human drivers, you feel me? It’s all about finding that sweet spot where both humans and robots operate in the same system, influencing each other’s actions. But the key here is that it’s not about stepping stones to replacement. It’s about using the unique skills and strengths of both humans and robots to create something epic. It’s like a freakin’ superpower team-up, man!
And let me tell you something, when I dive into my research with these NASA teams, I see that when companies ditch the whole replacement obsession and focus on building human-robot dream teams, all the ethical baggage of AI just vanishes, bro. It’s all about extending and enhancing what it means to be human, man. These engineers are building robots that can handle dangerous jobs that would put us at risk. They’re using robots to tap into different senses and gather data that we could never see or feel on our own. It’s a beautiful dance between humans and machines, man.
Oh, and forget all that data harvesting and bias sh*t, bro. These robots on Mars don’t even mess with our social world. They’re all about the physical world, gathering visual and distance data to do their thing. They ain’t contributing to the mess of surveillance and bias that plagues AI here on Earth. It’s a fresh vibe, man.
And get this, when we genuinely care about these machines and the work they do, it changes everything, bro. Like soldiers mourning their fallen drones or families giving their Roombas cute names and personalities – it’s all about that human connection. I’ve seen NASA engineers emotional as hell when their rovers faced threats on Mars. It’s not about projecting human traits onto machines, it’s about genuinely caring for them. It’s all part of the journey, man.
So, in these industries where AI threatens to replace human workers, we gotta start thinking about how we can use AI to enhance our capabilities, not take them away. Imagine having an AI agent that can help with script-writing, or artists using algorithms to boost their creativity and get credit for their work. Hell, even software teams could use bots to improve their communication and catch errors. It’s about finding a balance, man. The replacement fantasy ain’t the only future for AI and society, bro. We can create a more kickass future where humans and machines thrive together, whether it’s in space or right here on Earth, man.
Article provided by Janet Vertesi, Associate Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, originally published on The Conversation. Keep the knowledge flowing, bro!