Would you step into an autonomous plane?

That’s a good question to ask this week, now that UBS has announced the results of a survey that says only 17 percent of us would fly in a pilotless aircraft. It is a frightening scenario … until you realize planes are highly automated already.

What’s the issue here?

Even those who have accepted that the future of technology will be heavily dictated by artificial intelligence routines, there’s always a slow adjustment. AI is like the old analogy of a frog that’s set in a boiling pot of water: It jumps out immediately. Yet, start with a cold pot and turn it up slowly and the frog feels perfectly fine, even toasty warm. Whether you believe AI will show up someday and hit the off switch on humans or not, there is going to be a transition period as we adjust to autonomous everything.

And it is fine. We’re all fine. Someday — maybe by 2035 — we’ll look back at passenger jets and scoff at those antiquated, stone tablet-wielding, horse-and-buggy humans who demanded that a pilot greet them at the cabin door, even in 2017 when autopilot is fully operational on every flight. How quaint that is. We need to feel like humans are in control. We need to feel like technology is not marching toward an inevitable future where it knows way more than we do.

So let’s get this out of the way: In 2025, you will fly in a plane that is not piloted by humans. You may not have a choice. The savings from letting autopilot do everything will be astronomical. Flights will be safer, because honestly flights already are safer. Humans might still serve us coffee, though. Hopefully it’s from Starbucks.

Thanks for reading,
John Brandon
VentureBeat Editor

 

From the AI Channel

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How bots augment human productivity Not many people have an assistant anymore. That’s why I’m so pumped to have a new helper — her name is Amy, and she is awesome. Amy only has a couple of years of work experience, but she is super friendly and responsive. The main thing that Amy helps me with is scheduling meetings. Conference […]
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Beyond VB

Andrew Ng’s Next Trick: Training a Million AI Experts Andrew Ng, one of the world’s best-known artificial-intelligence experts, is launching an online effort to create millions more AI experts across a range of industries. Ng, an early pioneer in online learning, hopes his new deep-learning course on Coursera will train people to use the most powerful idea to have emerged in AI in recent years. (via MIT Technology Review)
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Using Artificial Intelligence to Motivate Employees While some are worried that artificial intelligence is going to lead to job losses, Iris Tsidon, CEO of Okapi is using AI for operations. Following the trend of Alexa and Siri, Okapi has created a personal assistant for employees within an organization. Iris’s experience as a seasoned HR executive showed her what people need within an organization to succeed and she set out to create it. (via LinkedIn)
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Rise of the racist robots – how AI is learning all our worst impulses There is a saying in computer science: garbage in, garbage out. When we feed machines data that reflects our prejudices, they mimic them – from antisemitic chatbots to racially biased software. Does a horrifying future await people forced to live at the mercy of algorithms? (via The Guardian)
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Teenage Whiz Kid Invents an AI System to Diagnose Her Grandfather’s Eye Disease When 16-year-old Kavya Kopparapu wasn’t attending conferences, giving speeches, presiding over her school’s bioinformatics society, organizing a research symposium, playing piano, and running a non-profit, she worried about what to do with all her free time. (via IEEE Spectrum)
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