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Could The Rise In Artificial Intelligence Render People Jobless?

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Artificial Intelligence
Arnor Dror (Flickr)

Throughout history, waves of technological innovations have had a very significant impact on the labour market. Creating a more effective process for production will, no doubt, have an effect on human labour. 

The industrial revolution which overhauled the production process of goods had an unprecedented impact on not only the production process but also every part of human existence. The transition from manual means of production to mechanical means necessitated the need for production companies to constantly research more effective ways to produce. 

By the 1830s, the full effect of the industrial revolution set in. Prior to the industrial revolution, weaving was done at home for family usage and also for sale. These women and children who weaved in the convenience of their homes would later become staff at textile factories. Although there was an economic boom, the standard of living didn’t rise immediately. If anything, it fell drastically under this early capitalist period.

Will history repeat itself?

Although jobs were lost at the industrial revolution, the revolution ended up creating more jobs than it killed. For example, the invention of automobiles killed the need for horse services. The automobile industry alone created an unprecedented amount of jobs. Truck drivers were needed, mechanics, road construction workers, and automobile factory workers, amongst others, were needed to serve workers.

READ ALSO: Artificial Intelligence: Africa’s Response To The Transformative Technology

The AI era, unlike the industrial revolution era, isn’t just about creating machines, it is creating them to think like humans and perform tasks more effectively than humans. The fear of AI by employees is, therefore, quite justified. Will AI create more jobs or take jobs away?

The first technological revolution seemed to have created more jobs than it displaced. The AI revolution is a technological revolution far more advanced and taking place faster than the industrial revolution. 

The truth is this wave of technology will have a stronger impact on the first. According to the Mckinsey Global Institute, the scale of AI’s disruption is 300 times that of the industrial revolution.

Another truth is, though a lot of research has been carried out, it is still too early to accurately predict what the impact of AI will be. But going by history, a job displacement in one sector could lead to an expansion in other sectors, making room for displaced workers. It’s also possible that new technology creates a new sector that never existed.

Jobs that will be replaced are most likely those that have to do with monotonous tasks, for example, call centres, production line workers, and document classification. 

Higher skilled jobs will probably see assistance from AI rather than an outright takeover. There will equally be some takeovers in the financial industry. The need for cashiers and customer service workers could be lost to AI, and routine accounting will be easily done by AI.

The need for some low skilled workers could be eliminated, thereby, causing people to upgrade their skill sets and to take on more complex work. This might improve the standard of living and lead to a rise in the level of literacy. 

READ ALSO: 5 Areas Artificial Intelligence Is Set To Dominate

During the industrial revolution, people adapted to the new technological ecosystem. They learned to use machines that made their work easier and in some cases, increased their wages. But with a technological transformation 300 times the scale of the industrial revolution, can every human adapt as fast as the disruption scale? That answer is left to be answered. 

Adapting means updating skillset because the advent of AI could lead to loss of low skilled jobs but in a continent like Africa updating isn’t as easy as it sounds.

According to the UN, there are 203 million illiterate people who are below the age of 15 in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is only one-seventh of the world’s population, and it accounts for 27% of the global illiterate population. The AI take over might just plunge this population into an abyss of penury, as low skilled jobs might be wiped out of existence. 

The current level of poverty might also make updating skillsets virtually impossible for many people. Online courses, which are the easiest and somewhat cheaper means of acquiring skills, are still very expensive for low income earners in Africa. 

The impact of AI on jobs can, therefore, not be generalised. Its effect is relative to the current social and economic realities of a country. Another variable that cannot be estimated is our ability, as humans, to innovatively adapt to a future full of several uncertainties— as it is with Artificial Intelligence

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Bolu Abiodun is a recent graduate of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University Oye-Ekiti. A journalist with over a year's experience on the job. A former editor at American Media company Project Forward, he is a skilled content creator, social media manager and digital marketer.

Crypto Assets

Cryptographers want to take back the term “Crypto”

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When the term Crypto is employed, it’s usually in relation to bitcoin, ethereum or different cryptocurrencies. According to Merriam -Webster’s dictionary, it additionally refers to cryptography.

Cryptography is “the computerized coding and decryption of information”. Because of the meaning of the word being seized by digital currencies, cryptographers have taken to social media, created t-shirts and hoodies to state “crypto suggests that cryptography”.

Amie Stepanovich, administrator of semiconducting material Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado grad school and creator of the pro-cryptography T-shirts, spoke to the Guardian, saying:

“Crypto for many years has been used as shorthand and as a prefix for things associated with cryptography. In fact, within the term cryptocurrency, the prefix crypto refers back to cryptography.”

But in the past years, the term Crypto has now been peculiar to cryptocurrencies as a lot of companies and organizations dealing in cryptocurrency will prefer to refer to themselves as crypto companies. A typical example is Crypto.com, a website for trading and storing cryptocurrencies. 

The renaming of Los Angeles Lakers home stadium to Crypto.com Arena may be a win for cryptocurrency fans however it strikes a blow against the world’s original meaning. The name reflects the arena’s new support agreement with a Singapore-based cryptocurrency commerce platform. 

That will be excellent news for cryptocurrency fanatics – however maybe not such a lot for one more faction in the digital landscape: cryptographers.

Another fashionable term crypto is employed for is Crypto.com, that is the world’s fastest-growing cryptocurrency platform. However, Matt Blaze, a mortal and research worker of cryptography and McDevitt chair of engineering and law at Georgetown University closely-held the Crypto.com domain in 1993.

Blaze originally refused to sell the naming rights to consumers although some crypto connected domain names were being sold-out for an outsized quantity of cash.

Blaze tweeted in 2018 “I suppose career cryptocurrencies “crypto” may be a poor selection, with unhealthy consequences for each cryptography and cryptocurrencies.”

However, the name was eventually sold-out, and currently if you move to Crypto.com you’re greeted by the crypto platform’s web site and their current advert that includes Matt friend.

Stepanovich, realises that crypto is heavily related to cryptocurrencies presently, but she realises history is on the aspect of cryptographers as she said: “The study of crypto has been around forever.”

There have been global debates over both cryptography – for example, questions over whether chat services should offer “backdoors” that skirt encryption – and the regulation of cryptocurrency.

“There is a need to distinguish between those two areas to avoid absolutely foreseeable confusion,” Stepanovich said, a particular issue when it comes to “legislators and regulators who are not always subject matter experts in these areas, even if they are charged with overseeing them”.

Higgins agreed, “Crypto as shorthand for cryptography was in widespread use. you may bring up crypto even on Capitol hill and folks would comprehend what you were talking about – that actually did hold plenty of, forgive this, however currency.”

And at a time where many still aren’t positive what exactly cryptocurrency is, the confusion over the terms simply makes things muddier. 

“Strong cryptography may be a cornerstone of the manner that individuals cite privacy and security, and it’s been vulnerable for decades by governments, enforcement agencies and all varieties of unhealthy actors”, Higgins added. For its defenders, confusion over nomenclature creates one more challenge.

It will however be a long battle that places cryptographers on the losing side because the popularity of the word “crypto” with cryptocurrencies has surely eclipsed the original meaning or connection to cryptography. It will come as a consolation that cryptocurrency goes through encryption.

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Elon Musk’s Dogecoin space dream approaches realization

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Dogecoin will strive to get to a place where no other cryptocurrency has ever been, thanks to the upcoming SpaceX mission by billionaire, Elon Musk. 

It is no longer news that Elon Musk’s rocket company is harnessing the knowledge of Blockchain startups ZenX Labs and Unizen coupled with energy tech firm, Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) to prepare for the launch of the Doge-1 satellite into space.

Elon Musk previously stated that the tab for the space mission is being paid for in Dogecoin and that SpaceX would launch the Doge-1 satellite to the Moon in 2022, making it the first cryptocurrency to literally go into space. 

SpaceX and GEC will also look to explore and highlight the role of decentralized finance (DeFi), in space exploration.

In a statement released by Tom Ochinero, SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales, he stated;

“This mission will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce. We’re excited to launch DOGE-1 to the Moon!”

Doge-1 Mission

Unizen, a smart exchange ecosystem for digital assets, unveiled several moving parts of the operation. GEC is focused on building and launching Doge-1, the maiden “crypto founded space mission to the Moon.” ZenX Labs is providing support around scaling, DeFi infrastructure and compliance.

The DeFi component involves the dynamic multi-asset staking (DMAS) of Unizen ($ZCX), a smart CeDeFi ecosystem, and rewards including XI Protocol tokens ($XI), according to the announcement.

The three companies are gearing up to launch the CubeSat and the satellite into lunar orbit making it possible for spatial results to be obtained from sensors and cameras. The mission is not expected to launch until March 2022. 

Doge Price

Although the Blockchain space trip is nearing its actualization, this has done little to lift the mood in the crypto market as majority of the top 10 coins are currently trading in the red, including Dogecoin. 

Hopefully when SpaceX’s Doge-1 takes off, presumably in the coming months, it could be a catalyst for gains. Musk’s influence is enough to move the markets, and the satellite mission thrusts Dogecoin into uncharted territory for cryptocurrencies.

Virgin Galactic, the space company founded by fellow billionaire Richard Branson, has signed up about 700 people for its upcoming space mission. They are hoping to sell enough tickets for 1,000 people to be on the spaceflight.

Possible Effect

The big question has always been if Doge will ever get to $1. Doge is a lot closer to $1 today than it was at the start of the year. Doge currently stands at $0.26 so if it’s to reach $1 milestone, then it must get a 284.6% rise. 

Although that seems unlikely, the latest development of Doge-1 and the impending space travel might make it possible. 

This would see the cryptocurrency market cap get to $131 billion, comfortably making it the third-largest coin, eclipsing the likes of binance coin, solana and tether.

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Market Watch

India to ban crypto for payments, As China continues to ramp up crypto mining holdouts

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India would be banning cryptocurrencies as a method of payment but would regulate its use as an asset according to a report by the Economic Times. A legislative bill on crypto regulation is planned to be presented in the winter session of parliament. According to reports, the details of this bill are still being finalized. In the bill, authorities also plan on banning “active solicitation” from crypto firms which includes exchanges and platforms.

The current plan is a deviation from the government’s earlier plans to outrightly ban cryptocurrencies in the country. The Reserve Bank of India had in April 2018, banned regulated entities, financial institutions, from dealing in cryptocurrencies and providing services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with cryptocurrencies. That, however, was overruled by the Supreme Court in March 2020 with the Court stating that while unregulated, cryptocurrencies were not illegal in India.

With the currently proposed legislation, the government seems to want to take a middle road on its stance with cryptocurrencies. The bill is also expected to address taxation aspects of the market. As for a regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) seems to be a likely candidate although according to the Economic Times, that is yet to be finalized.

Meanwhile, still on the continent of Asia, China is ramping up and tightening its control of crypto mining. The spokesperson for China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Meng Wei stated this during a press conference on Tuesday. She said the NDRC would be launching a “full scale” clamp down on any mining holdouts still left in the country.

This comes on the heels of China’s outright ban on crypto mining which took China’s global share of mining operations essentially offline overnight. Miners in China had moved their equipment and operations to neighboring Kazakhstan, Europe and the U.S. The Chinese government’s criticism of the mining industry has been attributed to it’s enormous energy use and environmental impact which threatens to jeopardize the nation’s goal of carbon net zero by 2060.

In apparent response to the news, a selloff was induced and the price of Bitcoin fell by about 7% to $60,889 while Ether slid by about 8% to $4,297.

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