Your Fears About The Coming Robot Revolution Might Be Overblown

CAMBRIDGE — The robots are coming! The robots are coming! But maybe that’s OK.

Rob High, IBM’s chief technology officer for Watson, urged an audience of industry elites, academics and press to consider how artificial technology should improve — rather than replace — the human experience during a keynote speech at the MIT Tech Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts Saturday.

Artificial Intelligence can help people became more efficient, creative and informed, High suggested.

“It’s not about answering the question, it’s about helping you come up with the questions you’re not thinking to ask,” High said.

Take Watson, for example. It’s a technology platform geared toward using a vast amount of data to produce intelligent responses to some of the biggest human problems, like cancer treatment.

No one human could possibly read every medical journal out there, but Watson is being trained to ingest that information and produce smart solutions based on specific data — a patient’s background and symptoms, for example.

That’s a true partnership between humans and AI. Watson takes information that people produce, considers a variety of factors and provides knowledge that is then used to help a human doctor do their job better. But Watson is not a replacement for an actual doctor.

There are concerns that robots are coming for our jobs, though. Meet Pepper, a Japanese robot that’s able to function as an intelligent sales representative.

In a video High included in his presentation, Pepper interacts with a man who wants to buy a cheap television. She up-sells him and suggests a cutting edge 4K TV instead. (Yes, this is real life.)

The man asks the robot if channels are even broadcasting in 4K yet. The robot considers the question and responds with several stations that, indeed, broadcast in 4K.

That’s —> Read More