A new OECD study has turned up potentially worrying findings for the human race as it attempts to remain relevant in the era of AI.
The OECD report asked a simple question. Can computers perform work based tasks better than humans?
The conclusion: “Two-thirds of workers in OECD countries are using the literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving skills measured by the Survey of Adult Skills with a proficiency at a level on par with that of computers. Only 13 per cent of workers use these skills on a daily basis with higher proficiency than computers.”
The report is not conclusive. It drew its conclusion by asking 216,000 adults certain questions related to literacy, numeracy and problem-solving with computers.
It then asked computer scientists how computers would answer those questions.
So there is one flaw: it asked-experts what they thought computers could do, rather than actually test them.
But, assuming the survey is broadly right, is this really bad news, as it is being portrayed?
Humans are social animals – our brain evolved not so we could create technology, but to support social interaction within communities – at least that is what the brilliant anthropologist Robin Dunbar reckons.
In a utopian society computers and robots would produce the goods we need, and people would engage in tasks that support social interaction.
Maybe we should be aiming for that.