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Many questions on AI seems to be trying to predict what might be possible in the future. This lend itself to science-fiction speculation (opinions). I think I am mostly provoked by this question: What jobs cannot be automatized by AI in the future?, which essentially wants us to make a prediction about a future scenario (specifically, what AI can't do). Predicting the future is hard, especially if there's no cut-off point (predicting what jobs are killed by AI in the year 2020 is much easier than predicting what jobs are killed by AI in 2100)...and it's not quite clear if there will be much expert opinion on futuristic predictions, or even if experts even are able to make good predictions about the future.

Questions about the future would only solicit personal opinions. I would strongly suggest that these types of questions be closed as opinion-based.

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We already close most of the more concrete questions, with some bullshit verbiage about how they're too "implementation" based. This only leaves room for the science-fiction style questions. If we start closing the science-fiction questions, there won't be anything left to do. Might as well close the site.

What we need to do is go back to what I suggested before - close the blatantly off-topic questions (eg, "How do I rebuild the carburetor on my 1973 Ford Pinto?") and obvious spam, and rely on the upvote/downvote mechanism for the grey-area stuff, and let the site evolve into what the users want it to become. The top-down, command-and-control model already isn't working and no amount of doubling-down on that is going to make it a good idea.

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Such question usually tend to draw a lot of low quality answers which are speculating without giving any backup to their claims. And at the end it's just one person opinion on that topic.

Therefore if the question isn't going to generate any constructive answers, which doesn't have any reliable references or there are no existing research studies in that area (because the topic isn't great or too localized), and question is just asking people to speculate based on their gut instinct, we should vote to close.

Although this particular question about automatic human jobs isn't actually bad, since it's possible to assess such probability based on the available employment data and in 2013 Oxford study they managed to estimate it using computer models. So I believe it's actually answerable.

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  • $\begingroup$ Or we could be honest with ourselves, admit that this community is not primarily made up of academics, and simply let it be a useful resource to those who do use it. Or we can beat our heads against the wall in a futile effort to mold it into something it's not, while chanting the SO mantra about opinion-based answers, blah, blah, blah. $\endgroup$ – mindcrime Oct 4 '16 at 18:17
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Some questions about the future will fall squarely under the scope of AI. AI seems to be a sponge that attaches its salience to everything, from depression to eschatology. It's hard for us to say declaratively what parts of life AI will or won't impact.

But I agree that some questions have been inadequately specified. If a given question is so obtuse that we think we will lack sufficient evidence to determine an answer within a decade or two... would some criteria like that be sufficient reason to close the question?

On the other hand, sometimes it may be better to actually explain to a questioner why a particular question is apparently naive, since other people out there may be suffering the same prejudices or misconceptions.

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