Dr Michio Kaku: Embrace the fourth wave

Dr Michio Kaku

KUCHING, July 8: As Industrial Revolution 4.0 marches on globally, many blue collar workers and even some white collars are wondering and worrying if artificial intelligence (AI) and robots would take over their jobs, making human labour irrelevant and redundant.

However, world renowned theoretical physicist, futurist, and science communicator Dr Michio Kaku gave assurance that not all of the jobs will be taken up by AI and machines, or at least not in the next decade or so.

“Jobs of the future which robots cannot perform are semi-skilled manual labours such as carpentry and plumbing, jobs involving human interactions such as lawyers and counselors, and intellectual capitalists such as analyst, artist, and like me, scientist,” he said in his keynote address, “The World in 2030”, at the International Digital Economy Conference Sarawak 2019 here this morning (July 8).

Kaku said it would still be a long way to go before AI can be that advanced and be able to do at least part of what human workers can do because a computer does not work the same way as a human brain.

“The human brain does not have an operating system, subroutine programmes and zeros and ones.

“Robots cannot pick up garbage. Robots cannot fix a broken toilet. They cannot design and build a house.

“Innovation, creativity, analysis — none of this can be done by robots. So, we’re talking about a future where jobs will be available,” he said.

As the world is entering the “fourth wave” of technological advancement, he said earning a living would also have to evolve.

Gone are the days where humans have to do hard labour to put food on the table.

“With the technology that is available to us today, to become a billionaire in whatever industry, identify where the middle men are. Identify the sources of friction, inefficiency, waste, redundancy, bottlenecks and chokepoints.

“Use analytics and AI to deal with these. Digitize all the friction and unnecessary layers.

“This is how Amazon, Uber, Airbnb and some others have operated to create the perfect capitalism in their field,” said Kaku.

He said as the world is now entering the “fourth wave” of technological advancement, which are AI, biotech and nanotech, many slow adapters or the older generations would not be able to adapt to the changes immediately.

However, he added, this would not be a disruption for too long like when the steam engine was first commercially used in the 17th century. At the time the feat was something which was unheard of. Only the rich could afford such luxuries of riding on or owning a steam engine-powered ride.

But as technology advanced, more and more people, slowly but surely, managed to keep up with it, he said.

“Back in the day oil was a precious resource. Now in the fourth wave, data is a precious resource. Data is the oil of today,” said Kaku.

The only thing is, to be able to harness wealth out of data, one would need analytical tools and AI to sort the data out and make sense of it, he said.

“Analytics and AI will help us find and isolate problems, and create a better society as every industry is digitized.

“Perfect capitalism gives us frictionless, seamless and personalised future. The future of the Internet is Brain Net,” Kaku concluded. — DayakDaily