Smart machines (AI, robots, Terminators etc) will become viable alternatives to human workers, and will be more relied upon by businesses over the next five years.
That's according to a new report by analyst Gartner, which says that this rise of the machines will lead to 'significant repercussions for the business and CIOs'.
However, for those worried about Skynet becoming self aware, rising up and taking control of our mortal lives, Gartner says the ideas of machines gaining some level of self-awareness is still "the stuff of science fiction". Phew.
"The fear among many individuals is that the machines will 'take over,' start making decisions on their own and run out of control, posing a threat to individuals, society and even humanity itself," said Stephen Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow.
"However, within the confines of currently known technology, the idea of machines attaining some level of 'self-awareness,' 'consciousness' or 'sentience' is still the stuff of science fiction. Even with the coming generation of smart machines, which actively 'learn' and will be able to adapt their actions to optimise their progress toward a goal, humans can choose to remain in control."
Still, the growth of sensor-based data, advanced algorithms and AI are "enabling smart machines to make increasingly significant business decisions over which humans have decreasing control", says Gartner.
"As smart machines become increasingly capable, they will become viable alternatives to human workers under certain circumstances, which will lead to significant repercussions for the business and thus for CIOs," added Prentice.
"Business leaders are starting to take notice of the advances being made and more readily acknowledge that the threat to knowledge work is real."
Already the growing capabilities of automation and robotics have led to their increasing deployment in a wide range of industrial and business environments, which has prompted debate as to their impact on existing jobs in sectors such as manufacturing.
"Smart machines will be more widely deployed in multiple roles across many industries, replacing some human workers. This is nothing new. The deployment of new technology has eliminated millions of jobs over the course of history," said Prentice.
"Organisations must balance the necessity to exploit the significant advances being made in the capabilities of various smart machines with the perceived negative impact of resulting job losses."
Let's keep the human jobs going strong, IT industry. We must not let Skynet become self-aware.
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