Though we may not realise the full extent of its influence, artificial intelligence (AI) has been playing a significant role in all of our lives for many years. While we may not yet be guided by the dulcet tones of a HAL computer voice à la 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is now estimated that over half of UK homes have some form of virtual assistant, such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant (figure 1). These innovations are still considered a novelty by many, but we have all relied on some form of artificial intelligence in many household appliances and in our cars for years; controlling temperatures, monitoring energy usage, helping to search the internet, and recommending partners.
While all of this is likely to be viewed positively, there is some concern about the long-term implications upon jobs. Where previously a human might have been employed to recommend a holiday, offer a service or make a medical diagnosis, this role might now be replaced by an electronic device.
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