Computers have beaten grandmasters in chess by using programming and brute force to decide moves. What Google has just done with AlphaGo is orders of magnitude different and once this technology goes mainstream – and it will – everything changes and not necessarily in a good way. Many jobs, including high level ones, will go away.
Here’s why AlphaGo, which is a type of Artificial General Intelligence, is different. It does not need programmers to explain things to it. It learns on its own by using big data and then by doing a bazillion simulations. Let me repeat that. AlphaGo is a new type of artificial intelligence that does not need programmers to give it specifics on what tasks to solve. It figures this out on its own.
However, this victory goes way beyond the game of Go. It is important because AlphaGo uses a generic technique for learning. A technique that can be used to master a HUGE range of activities, quickly. Activities that people get paid for today.
These activities include doctors, lawyers, tech, and many, many more.
This technology is going to cut through the global economy like a hot knife through butter. It learns fast and largely on its own. It’s widely applicable. It doesn’t only master what it has seen, it can innovate. For example: some of the unheard of moves made by AlphaGo were considered “beautiful” by the Grandmaster it beat.
This is simultaneously liberating and scary. Because whoever controls the dominant AI will control the planet.