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AI: Friend or Foe?

Engineers can use AI to their advantage, according to a panel at the 2019 IEEE International Microwave Symposium. It will change the nature of EE jobs, but not replace an engineer's knowledge and ...

eetasia.com, BOSTON, Jun. 12, 2019 – 

Engineers may worry that artificial-intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) algorithms will eventually replace them as circuit designers. A panel session on June 4 at the 2019 IEEE International Microwave Symposium held here tackled that touchy subject. The opinions were generally positive for engineers, but panelists acknowledged that AI/ML will change analog/RF engineering jobs but not necessarily replace engineers.

No panelist would go so far to say that your job is 100% safe, but none felt that engineers will be able to totally coast on their expertise and intuition. Why? Because technology has changed many jobs over the years. Yes, technology destroys jobs, but it creates others. "Only 2% of the U.S. population are farmers, and we have a population that loves to eat," said Hogan. You could say the same about manufacturing jobs. "If you've been doing the same job for the last five years, you're in trouble. AI will start with the bottom jobs." I interpret that to mean manufacturing rather than engineering or technician jobs.

"We should not view AI as an enemy," said Modi. "The job of the mathematician didn't go away just because of computers, though it did change. The same will happen with engineers. Unlike jobs that tend to be repetitious, engineers can use AI to produce better designs faster, but don't expect AI to know everything you know."

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