Threat to Humanity or Partner in Crime?


Ai Ai Oh!

The McKinsey Global Institute found that one third of current jobs could be automated, which means the workplace could change substantially in the future.

This doesn’t mean jobs will be automated, but it also doesn’t mean they won’t. Jobs that are physical and predictable – or involve a lot of data processing – are more apt to be automated than jobs that are unpredictable or require human performance like COMM Jobs.  In other words, robots have no feelings and no real emotion, so they can’t do jobs that require it. Or, the robots will fail miserably and probably try to take over the world…

“Are you asking if robots are going to come and kill us,” asked UWGB Assistant Information Science Professor Iftekhar Anam.


Iftekhar Anam

Defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary, AI is “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers” or “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”

Alright so, this is the dictionary definition, but what does a real, non-automated person think of it? Professor Anam clarifies:

Q: How would you define AI?  A: We see a lot of things around us and can detect what it is based on our experience but when we use a computer to do the same, we can’t just say ‘ok if something has four legs then it’s a chair’ because that’ll bother other objects that have four legs, like a table. So when we try to mimic some of the tasks people do automatically and through some sort of computer or automation, that is in a holistic sense, is AI.

Q: How has the Information Science department changed its curriculum to mirror changes in AI technology?  A: We have a data science program and as part of that we have a few courses that tease the students using data to come up with some intelligence or actionable insights.

Q: So, you’d say you see AI growing. Could you see a major within the COMM Department or a program that is solely focused on AI in the future?  A: I think the challenge here is that AI is a technology that is often being compared to electricity or a steam engine which were big milestones on the way to civilization and I think AI is going to bring about a lot of similar changes. I think there are a lot of opportunities for departments like communication . . .  by creating a dialogue about the consequences of the technology and the ethical issues that might come up late on as we are actually automating our decisions.

Q: How do you see the future of AI? Do you see people working cohesively with it, or separately?  A: I think going forward, it will be a future where humans and the intelligent machines will be working together..

Q: Is there anything else we should know when looking at or talking about AI?  A: As of now, we see a lot of things being taken out of context and kind of the overhyping the capability of AI. We have to know that when some research is translated into a media report, there are a lot of gaps and differences in perceptions in our minds.. . . We need to be a little more responsible when translating that for people because a lot of implications can be made that are not true.

AI may seem like something from the distant future and not a reality to any of us right now, but let’s remember how outrageous a lot of people thought Marty McFly’s Self Lacing shoes were in Back To The Future.

HalfNHalf includes: Brittany Fetterly, Trevor Gossen, Joshua Konecke, Darian Kuglin and Audrey Schneider


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One Comment to “Threat to Humanity or Partner in Crime?”

  1. thecommvoice says:

    Great Interview

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