Connor Moore has one of the most unique careers in the world: this 34-year-old American invents sounds for intelligent objects. He created a scale of personalised sounds for smartphones in relation to each action, and today is studying musical intonations to interact with companion robots like Amazon Echo or Jibo. The electric car, silent by nature, will also have an array of sounds to alert pedestrians or passengers of certain manoeuvres. More than just saying “Turn right,” the GPS would be able to emit several distinctive notes.
In the United States, the startup Mighty Al is hiring people to respond to simple questions in order to enrich the database and perform algorithms. The new recruits must describe the landscape in a photo or to classify objects into categories. In the professional sector, they are also recruiting doctors in order to describe and interpret scanners. This is a way for their clients to save time because AI’s learning ability proves to be a long, laborious, process which is susceptible to being skewed by incorrect indications. More than 100,000 people in 155 countries are already working on these “microtasks.”
Pokemon on the corner of the street. Pots of yoghurt that walk around the aisles of the supermarkets. Lego rockets that jump out of toy catalogues. Augmented Reality (AR), which enriches the real world with all sorts of virtual objects, is starting to invade our daily lives. In order to imagine and design all of these virtual objects, an army of designers are already hard at work: the market is estimated to be worth 20 billion dollars by 2025. The French startup Artech, for example, imagined the first “magic” park of Montauban where the user can see an elephant or a giraffe appear on the screen of their smartphone.
Small-town farmers toiling away in their fields will soon disappear. In Japan, the first fully automated farm is about to open. Without soil and sun, the farm will be managed by robots and abler to produce lettuce 365 days a year, whatever the weather. The farmer will, therefore, become an engineer (even if this type of agriculture requires double the labour). They will have to watch and adapt the settings of lighting or water supply. Ready to make the change? In Fukushima, ex-workers from the telephone company Panasonic were transferred to a farm-factory.
The conversation with chatbots intended to replace human operators is still bafflingly inadequate. They obviously haven’t benefited from an attentive professor. “In Silicon Valley, there is already a possibility of endangering the jobs of poets and comedians in order to write elegant and witty copies,” Tom Standage says, a journalist for The Economist magazine. It’s better if we don’t completely trust “self-learning” or internet users as they did in the racist diversion of the robot Tay from Microsoft.
Since GfK estimates that the average family home will have 30 connected objects by 2020, we will have a big need for help interpreting this avalanche of data. If my alarm clock tells me to jump out of bed one hour early and my smart thermostat recommends the opposite by pushing back my wake-up time, what should I do? “Data coaches” will be skilled in statistics and psychology. Even more specialised “genetic advisors” will lend their support and advice to people diagnosed as “at-risk” by their genome sequencing. According to the American Bureau of work statistics, the demand for this profession will increase by 29% by 2024.
The thousands of flying machines that are ready to invade the skies are very fragile. Accidents and collisions between the drones delivering packages and those monitoring fields of rapeseed will surely increase. There is, therefore, some hope for the mechanics who risk losing their job when we are all in self-driving cars! Instead, Aeronautic technicians will be fixing and maintaining civil and military drones. Just like planes that will fly without a pilot, they will have to pay more attention to these drones on a technical level. They will check the physical conditions as well as the navigation and guidance systems. A big responsibility: as there will be no margin for error.