News

Artificial Intelligence: Will You Have A Job Tomorrow?

Artificial intelligence (or AI) has been defined as “the study and design of intelligent agents”1… that is, a system that’s able to perceive its environment then take actions that maximise its chances of success.

A decade or two ago, most of us believed AI was a thing of fantasy. Sure, researchers were working on it, and computers with machine learning were able to beat the world’s best at Chess, but we assumed AI would never really materialise in the commercial world.

We were wrong.

Oxford University’s Allan Dafoe believes AI is already at the point where it can transform every industry and even devise new solutions to existing problems that are novel and innovative.2

And we’re seeing it.

In Belgium, researchers have developed a robotic harvester called a ‘sweeper’, which detects ripe produce using computer vision then picks accordingly.3

They believe robotic harvesting will revolutionise the economics of the agriculture industry and dramatically reduce food waste.

“The Sweeper picks methodically and accurately,” says Polina Kurtser, a Ph.D. candidate in the Ben-Gurion University’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management. “When it is fully developed, it will enable harvesting 24/7, drastically reduce spoilage, cut labour costs and shield farmers from market fluctuations.”

They’re currently working to increase the robot’s speed and anticipate commercialisation within four to five years.

In Singapore, scientists at Nanyang Technological University have developed a technology that enables two robots to work together to 3D-print a concrete structure.4

Known as ‘swarm printing’, they believe that eventually multiple robots will be taken to construction sites, where they will work together to print architectural features and facades.

“This research builds on the knowledge we have acquired from developing a robot to autonomously assemble an Ikea chair. But this latest project is more complex in terms of planning, execution, and on a much larger scale,” said Asst Prof Pham from NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

A computer maps out the design to be printed and assigns a specific part of the printing to a robot. It then uses an algorithm to ensure the robot arms don’t collide during the concurrent printing.

Using precise location positioning, the robots move into place and print the parts in good alignment, ensuring joints are overlapped before the joins are sealed with a specialised liquid concrete mix.

Medicine is not immune from AI either. A team of scientists at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in the United States, for instance, has designed an AI algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data, to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease.5

It can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years. The knowledge will help doctors streamline treatments and initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the early stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether.

What’s It To You?

With these examples in mind, it’s easy to see why Professor Jenny Stewart, a visiting fellow at UNSW Canberra’s school of business, believes that with artificial intelligence, computers are poised to conquer skills that we like to think of as uniquely human. That is, “the ability to extract patterns and solve problems by analysing data, to plan and undertake tasks, to learn from our own experience and that of others, and to deploy complex forms of reasoning”.2

The good news is, she believes that when it comes to protecting our jobs, there’s no need to be worried.

Experience shows that humans are very good at finding things to do.

Currently, less than 5% of occupations are entirely automated, and about 60% of occupations have at least 30% of tasks that can be automated.6 While there is considerable potential for automation to continue, especially given the rapidly evolving power of AI chances are we humans will continue to dominate machines when it comes to creativity, interpersonal relations, caring, empathy, dexterity, mobility.

Talk to Ayers

As a contractor in a rapidly changing world you need to be agile and open to new ideas. At Ayers, we’ve been helping contractors like you build their skills and business for over 20 years. We take care of the day to day administration so you can invest resources into moving forward. Talk to an Ayers consultant today.

References:

  1. www.sciencedaily.com/terms/artificial_intelligence.htm
  2. www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/should-we-be-worried-about-artificial-intelligence-20180530-p4zii9.html
  3. American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. “New robot picks a peck of peppers and more.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2018.
  4. Xu Zhang, Mingyang Li, Jian Hui Lim, Yiwei Weng, Yi Wei Daniel Tay, Hung Pham, Quang-Cuong Pham. Large-scale 3D printing by a team of mobile robots. Automation in Construction, 2018; 95: 98
  5. Nikhil Bhagwat, Joseph D. Viviano, Aristotle N. Voineskos, M. Mallar Chakravarty. Modeling and prediction of clinical symptom trajectories in Alzheimer’s disease using longitudinal data. PLOS Computational Biology, 2018; 14 (9): e1006376
  6. https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-question-with-ai-isnt-whether-well-lose-our-jobs-its-how-much-well-get-paid

Connecting Business With The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a giant network of connected things and according to some, there will be around 50 billion of them in the world by 2020… smartphones, washing machines, alarm systems, even furniture and office supplies… the list goes on.1

Essentially, anything that can be connected, will be connected.

Read more


Working in Australia Doesn’t Need to be That Hard

Looking to move to Australia? We can help you get here fast… and find work!

In March this year, the Australian government launched the new TSS (Temporary Skills Shortages) Visa (Subclass 482) replacing the subclass 457 temporary work-visa.

Read more


The Truth, The Whole Truth…and How You Can Get It

Ever wondered how to make sure you’re getting honest answers from the prospective employees and contractors you interview?

Open vs closed, direct vs indirect questions; supportive responses that normalise poor behaviour… it’s all been tried. Now a new study out of the University of Utah has found it’s all in the way you phrase your questions… and communicate your knowledge.

Read more


Six Steps To Managing Your Invoices

Pushed to meet a deadline? Don’t forget your invoices!

It’s a common problem that small business owners face. Projects are completed, there are more coming through, and so we put aside the need to generate invoices in favour of meeting our clients’ needs.

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Write a Letter – Build Your Business

Ever wondered how you can grow your business without spending any money?

Maximising your business’s performance is all about innovation, finding new opportunities for efficiency, staying on top of your administrative obligations and efficiently managing paperwork. It’s also about developing loyal staff, suppliers and customers.

Read more


Protect Your Reputation, Control Your Digital Footprint

Looking to build up your business? First, you’ll need to find out what’s out there about you and perhaps make some changes to your digital footprint.

Anyone and everyone can learn a huge amount about you via your digital footprint; that is, the trail you leave behind when you post updates, pictures or check into places on social media, send emails, visit websites and so on.

While it’s super easy to put information online, it’s far more difficult and expensive to take information down – some would say impossible – and unfortunately that’s where things can go horribly wrong for your professional success.

Your digital footprints are both ‘active’ and ‘passive’.

‘Passive’ footprints are the unintended footprints that occur as a result of visiting websites – the sites collect your data without you even realising.

‘Active’ footprints are the ones you leave when you make deliberate choices on the Internet – the posts and blogs your leave on your own accounts, the comments you make on other people’s accounts, the emails you send.

Take control

When you control your digital footprint, you help protect your own identity and reputation, as well as the reputations of your family and friends.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your digital footprint:

1. Find out about your digital footprint by searching your name, any names you’ve had (ie before marriage) and potential misspellings. Do this on several search engines and ask the site administrator to take anything down that you don’t like.

2. Double-check your privacy settings, but don’t trust them – privacy settings on one social media stream won’t necessarily protect your data from others.

3. Deactivate or remove extra accounts you’ve had for internet access, social media and email.

4. Create strong, memorable passwords using a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and upper- and lowercase letters. Make it easy to remember, but difficult to guess. Avoid the most popular combinations, like birthdates, anniversaries, or the names of your partner, kids or pets.

5. Keep all your antivirus software and other software programs up to date so they’re less accessible to be mined.

5. Use a lock or password on your mobile device and occasionally review your apps for their privacy and information-sharing settings. If you don’t use an app anymore, delete it.

6. Only post things that you want your clients, bosses, banks, or professors to see. Un-tag yourself from questionable Facebook photos, unfriend yourself from questionable Facebook ‘friends’ – and avoid getting involved in negative commentary.

If you really want to delete your digital footprint, it’s going to take an enormous effort and even then, you probably won’t succeed. That’s because even after you’ve deleted every account you have, you’ll find that many companies will still keep data you’ve previously given them… but at least it won’t be publicly shared.

Read more useful information about protecting your personal data here.

Take action

Protecting your reputation and building your business takes time. At Ayers our experts can free you to of regular administrative hassles, like payroll management, your tax obligations and financial management, so that you can get on with the job of building your business. Talk to us today.


Encourage Accountability, Listen More & Reap the Rewards

Companies need to listen more, and employees need to speak up faster when problems arise in the workplace, according to research undertaken by US leadership training group VitalSmarts.

VitalSmarts found that when three days or fewer pass between the identification of a problem and a frank, honest and respectful conversation about it, roughly AU$7,000 is wasted. However, when this process takes five days or more, employees estimate almost than $70,000 is wasted.

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Are You Maintaining Your Relevance?

The latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey released by the Melbourne Institute, showed the number of ‘solo self-employed’ people in Australia had not significantly grown from 2011 to 2016, despite increasing talk about the gig economy.

It also found that the ‘self employed with employees’ sector had declined “at quite a rapid rate” from about 8.6 per cent in 2001 to less than 5.5 per cent in 2016. Read more