Prediction of an emergent trend: integration of cheap overseas labour into ‘intelligent’ systems, to fill the gaps where ‘hard AI’ still fails.
The press is making a lot of ‘offshoring’ — the movement of call centres, support departments and the like to countries where educational standards are high, and labour is cheap. Ignoring the politics for a bit, this is interesting in other ways: once the infrastructure for such services is in place, the supply side of this market will naturally be looking for higher-margin ways to exploit any surpluses.
Imagine similar businesses offering the ‘clever, value-added bit’ to intelligent web search, or to collaborative filtering — much more cheaply and quickly than an otherwise huge investment in Research and Development. We’ve usually imagined the fleshy part to be the interface of the half-human, half-machine, but it feels to me that it’s much more likely, imminent and cost-efficient, to do it the other way around.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but a recent email from Tim has brought it up again, with reference to the small person hidden in the base of the chess-playing automaton…