The phrase Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way since it was first used over 60 years ago. Today, it touches every aspect of our life. Technology leaders, such as Google are infusing AI into all of their platforms to enhance people and process efficiencies. However, for a few people, AI is an inconvenient truth. According to Tesla founder Elon Musk1, machine learning overlords can have a debilitating effect on humanity. Along the same lines, let’s consider four major concerns around AI:
Will AI rule the world?
The answer is most likely ‘no’. History is witness to the fact that great technologies are always harnessed for the benefit of humankind. To understand that today’s world is no different, all we have to do is look at what big enterprises are doing with the help of AI. Everything people do from what they buy, watch or listen is impacted by AI. Conversational AI-based solutions assist users in their daily tasks. Google’s Duplex2 AI, for instance, can make phone calls and talk like humans. However, it is said that in the future, whenever Google deploys Duplex, it will ensure that AI solutions identify themselves as a machine to help people make the distinction.
Will AI pick up a gun?
Yes, it might, if humans ask it to. But it is not a good idea to do so as the technology lacks compassion. Armies all over the world are being equipped with AI technologies. Most use deep learning. For example, the US army3 is keen to build an Advanced Targeting and Lethality Automated System (ATLAS), which will use AI and machine learning to acquire, identify, and engage targets at least 3X faster than the current manual process. However, to stop such machines from turning into killer robots, humans need to control the way in which deep learning algorithms learn. This will require extensive knowledge about what kinds of data will be used to teach machines to fight.
Will AI take away jobs?
Most certainly ‘yes’ - if humans don’t reskill themselves. According to World Economic Forum4, machines and algorithms in the workplace are expected to replace 75 million jobs by 2022. The good news is they will also create 133 million new roles. However, only 10%5 of organizations have started upskilling and reskilling their employees. Clearly, the time is ripe for organizations to redefine upskilling/reskilling programs for their employees to stay relevant. Plains Capital Bank6, for instance, trains it employees in relevant technical and socio-economic skills to help them to excel in their role of digital bankers.
Will AI wipe out mankind?
Not very likely. However, according to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking7, developments in AI have been so great that machines will one day be more dominant than human beings. But AI’s ability to do so will depend on what kind of AI is being created, why it’s being created, and how. Most importantly, it will depend on the interests of investors.
Ethical use of AI for the betterment of mankind
So, what will AI look like in the future? With enterprise use of AI growing at an exponential rate (it has grown by a whopping 270%8 over the past four years), what AI will look like in the future will depend on how AI leaders shape it. If used ethically, it will deliver more efficient systems, better products and services, and more efficient and safer homes, roads, workplaces, restaurants and public places for a more sustainable planet.
In my next blog, I’ll discuss how one can figure out how much time and money a service provider has invested in AI, based on what it offers as a product or a service.