In Post #1, I looked at the current status of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it is already affecting our lives. I will now give my take on how it will evolve over the next five to ten years and how disruptive this will be for our society, including the stock market.
Let’s first look at cars, since they are such a visible example. I already mentioned that most main stream cars will be offering driver assist functions like automatic braking, lane drift warnings with corrective steering, and blind spot warnings. Rear cameras, alarms, and cross traffic warnings will be available. Tesla has announced that some of their buyers will be given the opportunity to test a more inclusive system that enables pretty much automated driving on freeways, only triggering the driver to take control during unusual situations. But many car manufacturers, and Google, already have cars being tested that do much more. So without any technological breakthroughs, just more testing, software, computers, and communications, cars and driving are likely to be even more automated within 10 years. If every US car and truck, even existing vehicles, were required to have low priced transponders with emergency feedback capability, satellites/computers could track every US vehicle at all times. This is already being done for many boxcars, trucks and taxis. This information, combined with the sensor information being gleaned from all the newer cars’ automation, would enable a master grid feedback to vehicles. 60 car pile ups in fogs would become a thing of the past, as would most multiple car pileups. As more automatic braking is incorporated, rear-ending accidents will be largely eliminated. Although some people will protest the big-brother intrusion, cars speeding excessively or being driven erratically by drunk drivers could be identified on the grid and police notified. Although this level of AI would not give us truly automated cars, it certainly would reduce accidents dramatically. And these systems will be so all-encompassing that it will certainly feel like these AI control systems are “thinking.”
Per the National Highway Association, car and truck crashes cost $1 trillion in 2010. The 2010 US Gross Domestic Product was $15 trillion. So vehicle accidents cost the US the equivalent of almost 7% of GDP. Even reducing this cost a small amount is a huge potential windfall for AI vehicle partial automation and control! Many people will not like giving up the complete freedom of independent driving; but many people also fought wearing seat belts!
Since 2000, 3.2 million US jobs have been outsourced to China. To put this into perspective, the total number of unemployed in the US is 8.7 million. All of these jobs will not come back to the US with AI automated plants and services. But a portion of the jobs will come back! This will somewhat balance out the effect of new industries automating and reducing jobs. This is especially true given the additional jobs that will be created by robot manufacturers, robot servicing, and the need for additional software developers .
Robotics will be largely limited to high volume manufacturing areas. Their use in high job demand areas like the care of the aged will be limited because robots do not have that ability, nor are they likely to in the next ten years. Professions like Law, which require much review of past law decisions and current related documents, will be highly automated. The IBM computer that won on Jeopardy demonstrated a computer’s ability to work with real language, including the ambiguity of feet smelling and noses running! So the current over-supply of lawyers will just get worse.
Doctors rely on much data that can be gleaned and analyzed by AI computers. Given the forecast of a doctor shortage, computers being able to assist will likely reduce the need for additional doctors. In many cases, nurse practitioners working with AI computers will be just as effective. This has the potential of slowing soaring medical costs and will enable care of the aged with fewer doctors.
The same language capability that enabled a computer to win on Jeopardy will likely assist those trying to beat the stock market. Daily news, financial and otherwise, will be downloaded immediately into an AI computer. This computer will track and look for correlations between sundry news events and stock market movement. Many interactions likely to be missed by investment managers will be identified by the computers. And with the emphasis on speed, many of these computers will be programmed to initiate buy/sell instructions independently. This may not eliminate the need for investment brokers, but it will make it even harder for individual investors to compete.
So, here are some observations. First, stay away from Chinese or Indian companies that make high volume goods for the US or Europe. This includes companies that sell, ship, or otherwise are involved with the handling of these outsourced parts or products. In the near future, many of these products will be made in industries in the US and Europe using a lot of robotics.
The government in China may be in big trouble as their export businesses shrink, because they have tolerated capitalism because of the economic growth it triggered. In reaction, strong communism may very well raise its ugly head, and this could cause increased military confrontations with Japan and the US. So buying stock in companies supplying military equipment might not be a bad investment.
Buy stocks in robotic companies and the companies that specialize in related AI software development.
Buy stocks in companies that mainly sell car insurance. Don’t buy a car without the available new automation options. They will lose their value quickly.
Individuals should not try to play the stock market on a daily basis. Fund managers with the developing AI computers will be unbeatable.
Strongly discourage your child from going to law school! Have them take robotics and software programming instead!
We are still going to be left with a shortage of well-paying jobs for those that do not have the skills needed for robotics and other technical fields. And the jobs related to care of the aged are likely to be very low paying. But some of this issue will be self-correcting, because our roads and bridges are deteriorating so rapidly that we will have no choice but to start rebuilding them. This will open up well-paying jobs for those without higher education or technical skills. Ideally, the tax costs will be borne by those making excessive profits from the automated manufacturing, because US industry will thrive in the coming years.
As I mentioned in my last update, I have written a book “Artificial Intelligence Newborn – It is 2025, and I am Here!” It is by necessity fiction, but I did my best to make it a viable scenario of how the growth of thinking computers could actually happen. It will be published by Kellan Publishing in several months. In my next update, I will discuss some of the scenarios that might develop from even more advanced AI development. The scenarios will cover the spectrum from AI step change to radical changes in AI that can affect our whole society, and not necessarily in a positive way!