Merry 2017, Pink Posse! Now that we’re in a new year, it’s time to resolve to drop some of those bad habits you’ve picked up. First on the list: buying cars, playing poker, marrying humans. Admit it, you feel better already…
We’re already in the era of the quantified self, with Fitbit tracking our steps, sleep and heartrate. How willing are you to share that data and more with your employer? Big data and predictive analytics in the workplace are the trends for the future of work in 2017. This BBC podcast looks at what it means to be measured like an athlete at work – at least until a robot can outperform you.
When we were all still humans, we used to like buying things, like cars. But that’s over. According to the FT, the UK has reached “peak car” and expects automobile sales to fall by 5% in 2017 – at least of traditional cars, as our parents knew them. Is this a start of a pattern where we think differently about car ownership, renting or using driverless cars as an alternative? And what impact will that have on society, jobs and our culture? The Guardian considers the true impact of driverless cars.
Used to be, your band played in a bar and an A&R honcho would tell you if you were going to make it. But punk is dead, and so is the analog method of talent scouting. A new company called Next Big Sound is a big data predictive tool for the music industry. It listens to tracks, analyses metrics including social media traffic, streaming statistics and listener demographic information to determine which artists will have commercial success. It can even advise them on which song will do best as their next single. They successfully predicted 50% of the new acts on Billboard last year. Data-driven rock and roll – now we’re really in the future.
No car, no job, no record deal? Only one strategy remains: time to hit the tables at Vegas. But even there, you’re going to meet a bot that’s only too willing to take your money. After mastering the game of Go, AI is raising the stakes. A new AI system called Liberatus is going to take on the Poker Pros. But this is no tic-tac-toe. The number of permutations in a game of poker with incomplete information on other players’ hands is greater than the atoms in the universe. As Kenny Rogers warned us: you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em. And he had a good old-fashioned record deal.
Now that the bot has all your money, and your job, there’s just one hitch remaining. Yes, that one. One AI expert is predicting that humans and robots will be getting married by 2050. Noting with lamentable certainty that human-robot, er, “relations” will have started long before then, experts say it’s only inevitable that marriage will follow. The positive spin: “A lot of human marriages are very unhappy. Compared to a bad marriage, a robot will be better than a human.” We’re looking forward to wedding speeches that use big data to predict the best gags, followed by highly compliant taking out of the trash. By the human.
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