Last week, we discussed the possibility that some roles are likely to be replaced by machines within the next decade. Today, we discuss the opinion that although some roles may be replaced, the ‘human’ element within a business is still an important and much-needed factor.
What can machines do that we can’t?
There have been significant technological advancements that have taken place within the last century that have either positively or negatively impacted people and society. These advances have helped to increase our knowledge and improve our standard of living. For example, with the creation of cars and planes – we are able to travel and experience different cultures, giving us greater knowledge about the world that we live in. We have machines to help us relax and have fun, to help make life easier at home and at work – giving us more time to learn, to process and to continually evolve.
So with all of this machinery already in place and with more innovations being released on a regular basis – why are we finding it difficult to process the idea that some machines will, in the end, be more beneficial to a business rather than people?
The problem lies with the machines themselves. Computers, mobiles, tablets and so on can access and process enormous amounts of data, especially more recently with the growth of Cloud Computing – but what can they do with it? It still takes a person to examine the data that is available and make inferences about what it all means and, in the end, we would ultimately decide what we would do with the data that we’ve collected.
Maybe machines just aren’t advanced enough to know what to do with the data yet.
Or are they?
What can we do that machines can’t?
Last week, IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, with the help of Chef James Briscione, created dishes with combinations that Watson came up with. Some of these food combinations were a bit…out there. The starter was a salad of shrimp, tomato and celery, dressed in coconut and…vanilla, for example. However, these dishes were deemed a success and Watson’s combinations are now available to try on www.imbchefwatson.com.
Watson was able to do this, as the system has a compiled database of food and this, alongside the awareness that studies indicate that food sharing common chemical flavour compounds taste good together, enabled Watson to come up with these rather wacky flavour combinations. However, it was still up to human chefs to cook and put these together to create a successful dish.
What can we learn from this?
Watson doesn’t just provide flavour combinations. He compiles data for a wide variety of industries, most significantly – the medical industry. Watson can work alongside doctors to help them come up with the best treatment options based on the data that it has.
So maybe that is the future?
Maybe it is dependent on people and machines working together – with all of the data that can be gleaned from systems helping us gain more knowledge, make better decisions, becoming more creative with our thinking and like the chefs, can allow us to think more outside of the box.