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A Brave New World: Is Artificial Intelligence About to Take Your Job?

When you hail a ride through Uber, the company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to link you with the driver. When Google seems to know what you are looking for online almost before you do, that’s AI.

It is not exactly news that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have increasingly become a part of American life in recent years. From the gas station to the grocery store to their favorite retail outlet or restaurant, consumers are increasingly finding themselves interacting with technology and less with their fellow human beings.

Some consumers resist this trend and are committed to interacting with real people at the bank or the supermarket. But that may be increasingly difficult as chatbots rule the roost and an actual customer service person may or may not be at the other end of your keyboard.

A recent survey showed workers are increasingly concerned about losing their jobs to AI. The survey, conducted by, queried three thousand workers nationwide. It indicated that more than one in four Pennsylvanians have concerns about being terminated or their positions being eliminated due to the presence of AI.

That figure is lower than the percentage in neighboring states. In New Jersey, 41 percent of workers surveyed indicated trepidation about losing their jobs to technology. That figure rose to 50 percent in Delaware. In Maryland, it was 39 percent.

Nationwide the greatest concern about job loss came from residents of New Hampshire: 71 percent expressed concern about their jobs being eliminated due to AI.

Such concerns are not universal. Bucks County resident Tyler Skroski is a marketing executive with KBC Advisors. He sees AI as an asset, not a threat.

“We’ve been experimenting a lot with ChatGPT, and I do not feel threatened for myself or the rest of my team,” he said. “We use it as an additional resource, like many other pieces, but it’s hard to pull emotion and reader connection from it. I think AI will help in streamlining the brainstorm process in my industry (marketing commercial real estate), but not fully replace a finished product. Ideally, it should help with efficiency for us.”

Ironically, the survey indicated the greatest concerns about job security were expressed by workers in the technology sector, where 64 percent of respondents expressed those concerns.

At the other end of the scale, workers employed in the public service sector expressed the fewest concerns about losing their jobs to AI: just 19 percent.

In between, results ranged from 59 percent in the hospitality industry to 52 percent in the legal profession, to 44 percent in both health care and education, to 43 percent in retail, to 41 percent in engineering.

The survey provided an opportunity for the respondents to take stock of the extent to which AI-related technology has impacted our lives in recent years.

Chatting with a virtual customer service assistant or making a bank deposit by phone are conveniences we take for granted. But those conveniences come with the tradeoff of fewer human jobs. And in many instances companies need fewer workers to accomplish their aims. That trend is likely to continue.

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After Face-off With Critics, IRS Scraps Plans for Facial ID Tech

The Internal Revenue Service has abandoned plans to force taxpayers to a private facial-recognition system to access their online accounts, the agency announced this week. But critics say the now-foiled effort is part of an ongoing expansion of the frightening federal agency into more of our lives.

In a statement announcing it is dropping the program, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said, “Everyone should feel comfortable with how their personal information is secured.” Based on the reaction, few Americans were comfortable giving the feds a face scan.

In a letter to Rettig objecting to the plan, signed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and other ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee, said in part, “We have serious concerns about how may affect confidential taxpayer information and fundamental civil liberties.”

“The most intrusive verification item is the required ‘selfie,’ which is much more than simply uploading a picture; it is submitting one’s face to be digitally analyzed by into a ‘faceprint.’ Additionally, using appears to subject taxpayers to the terms of three separate agreements filled with dense legal fine print: a privacy policy agreement, a terms of service agreement, and a ‘Biometric Data Consent and Policy,'”  the letter stated.

According to Emory University Professor Usha Rackliffe, taxpayers using to pay their taxes or check on their balance would have to upload a video of themselves, along with a government-issued photo ID. Under the original plan, that would have to be done by the summer of 2022 to access older tax returns and information regarding the federal Child Tax Credit. It would not, Rackliffe said, impact the process of filing a tax return.

Rackliffe has serious objections to the IRS’s use of the technology, as do civil liberties organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the digital advocacy group Fight for the Future.

“The IRS’s plan to use facial recognition on people who are just trying to access their tax information online was a profound threat to everyone’s security and civil liberties,” Fight for the Future’s Caitlin Seeley George said in a statement. “We’re glad to see that grassroots activism and backlash from lawmakers and experts has forced the agency to back down.”

Even Biden administration allies backed away from the IRS initiative.  Interestingly, one civil rights figure who doesn’t object is Rackliffe’s fellow Georgian, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young.

“I am on the other side,” Young told InsideSources. “I am for anything that is going to make people more secure and more free. I think facial recognition software is already used in just about every government office.”

He went on to say he is for photo (or video) ID in nearly every situation.

“We could have a voter ID with a picture on it. All the president would have to do is make an executive order. You could even put fingerprints in it. It can work for other things too. Whatever you sign up for, take a picture. It would only be a problem for those with a criminal record, but that is already a problem.

“India does it. That is a country with over a billion people,” Young added.

For Rackliffe, there are three areas of concern.

“The first concern is the accuracy of the software. With technology always comes challenges. The facial recognition software uses biometric scanning. So, it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to validate you are who you say you are. It sounds good in theory, but in practice, studies have shown that if you have a darker skin tone, perhaps it may not always be accurate in identifying you. With the false negatives and false positives, the rates have been higher with people of a darker skin tone.”

Rackliffe is also uncomfortable with the IRS relying on an outside vendor like

“This is a third-party company that you have between yourself and the government,” Rackliffe said. “That always makes people nervous. This is a company the government has opted to contract with to collect and keep that information. This can make people nervous because we often hear about companies being hacked and sensitive information being compromised.”

And, she notes, neither the IRS nor have laid out the nuts and bolts of their collection process or how information is stored.

“There are all these questions and concerns about who will have this information and what are they going to do with it. You could look at this as one-on-one face identification, like an iPhone. But there is a larger concern that it might be a facial recognition database. There are many questions like, will the information be given to law enforcement? These questions come up because the IRS has not come forward with who will have access to this information or how it may be used.

“We can all agree the use of technology to catch a bad guy is a good thing,” Rackliffe said. “But when does it become government overreach?”

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