Debate: Will AI Replace Humans?

Coach Cookie
Post by Coach Cookie
January 9, 2023
Debate: Will AI Replace Humans?

With the development of artificial intelligence and robotics, there has been a lot of anxiety about machines replacing humans. Though many people argue that "machines will never replace humans because humans are special." What is so special about humans? What prevents machines from replacing humans?

Assumption 1: Human beings are special since they can work.

Just a few example can cast some doubt on this statement. Automatic pesticide sprayers, vacuum cleaner and robotic arms show how robots and AI can work even more efficiently than humans.

Assumption 2: Human beings have intelligence and strategies.

1996, IBM's supercomputer called Deep Blue defeated the world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

2015, Google AI taught itself to play 49 Atari games. Moreover, most of the scores obtained by this algorithm can be equal to or even surpass humans, and they used strategies that human players have never thought of [1].

2016, Google Alphago software defeated South Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol 4-1. After the game, most people concluded that humans have no hope of defeating AlphaGo or its updated iterations.

All these show that artificial intelligence is superior to human intelligence, and it will be even more true in the future.

Viewpoint 3: Humans are self-aware and can decide for themselves.

The simplest example: opening TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. Are the videos and content really chosen by us? Algorithms decide for us what to watch next based on our view history.

While algorithms attempt to know us better than we do, they can manipulate our views on politics. As early as in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the Obama campaign team had used Facebook to win the election. What brought this trend to the forefront was the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Trump campaign team used social media algorithms to “brainwash” swing voters (voters who have not decided who to vote for), swing voters received information and photos of Trump again and again, which imposed feelings that they were familiar with the candidate and proposed policies [2] .

Assumption 4: Only humans understand art.

David Cope, former professor of music at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) wrote a program capable of composing concertos, choruses, symphonies and operas, called EMI (experiments in musical intelligence). EMI can imitate Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky. The audience could not tell it apart from human music thinking EMI's music was full of emotional resonance when they were not told about who the performer was. David Cope also wrote Annie, a new program. Annie constantly updates and its music style with pop music.

After reading the above examples, you may feel pessimistic: artificial intelligence can do everything better than humans, it is the trend for artificial intelligence to replace humans.

Human beings do have peculiarities .

Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne from University of Oxford published "The Future of Employment" in 2013. The research report, investigated the probability of 702 jobs being replaced by computers in the next 20 years. Study found that jobs require creativity and social skills which are advantages humans share [3].

While AI can imitate past musicians, it cannot create a brand new candidate (at least not in the short term). Yuval Noah Harari (historian, philosopher) has written that "Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination... imagination has the potential to become the most powerful force in the world, even surpassing natural selection [4]." Humans can continue communicating and strengthening the connections through cooperation. Just like how they spread religious stories and embrace the fictional concepts like money.

Although we can't predict the future, creativity and communication skills can always find humans a way out.

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[1] Rebecca Morelle, ‘Google machin

e learns to master video games

’, BBC, 25 February 2015, accessed 15 November 2022,

[2] Robert Epstein, ‘How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election’, Politico Magazine, 19 August 2015, accessed 15 November 2022,

Philip N. Howard, Samuel Woolley & Ryan Calo (2018) Algorithms, bots, and political communication in the US 2016 election: The challenge of automated political communication for election law and administration, Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 15:2, 81-93, DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2018.1448735

[3] Carl Benedikt Frey, Michael A. Osborne, ‘The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?’, 17 September 2013, accessed 15 Nonmember 2022,

[4] Harari, Y. N. (2018). Homo deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. Harper Perennial.

Coach Cookie
Post by Coach Cookie
January 9, 2023