Science and technology

Will robots take over the world? When can we ride in a driverless car? Will a computer take my dream job?

We are living in an amazing time for science and technology. Artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing rapidly and transforming the world around it. AI software can now write music, drive cars, discover solar systems, and beat human champions of the most difficult games in the world.

For some, the AI revolution is incredibly exciting. Research shows that robots could be performing operations and caring for the elderly and disabled in years to come. The NHS says this would take the pressure off overworked staff and eliminate human error.

But there are fears too. In 2017, experts warned that AI could replace up to 800 million jobs worldwide by 2030. And although driverless technology is making progress, there have been worries about safety after a US citizen was killed by a driverless Uber last year.

Others worry that AI will become too powerful, and threaten human life itself. Before he died, Stephen Hawking warned that AI “may replace humans altogether.”

What do you think — will AI be good or bad for the world? And should more young people study science and technology?

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Space is another area where scientists are making new discoveries and planning for an exciting future. Touch the stars with this slideshow for Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

Activities

  1. Will robots take your dream job? Go to this website to find out. Discuss what you find with a partner — were you surprised by the results? Did they make you think twice about your future career?
  2. Monday (February 11) is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Choose a female scientist who inspires you, and produce a short report about her life and achievements.
  3. Write a diary entry from 2030 about how you think robots will be being used and their impact on society.