The future is bright. And we will have Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and Automation to thank for it. These technologies will change the way we consume services, experience products and interact with devices. As powerful sensors combine with intelligent self-learning systems, my TV will know who is watching, my energy meter will know what my home requires and my home will know who is around. My car will start automatically (thank goodness, I won’t need to hunt for that bunch of keys I tend to misplace every morning!) and I will just need to walk around the home on the weekend, talking to machines, to create an accurate shopping list. AI-driven device will also place an online order using my shopping list, choosing from the best available offers, quickly adding to the savings for a vacation in Kotor, Montenegro. Why Kotor? Because my AI assistant has found that Kotor perfectly matches my desire to spend a week lost in a medieval town with a maze of cozy piazzas and Juliet balconies. Why wouldn’t I – or, for that matter, anyone – want AI to bat for them? For sure, AI creates visions of mass unemployment. But the truth is that when digital photography replaced silver halide paper, more people began to take pictures, resulting in the sale of more (digital) cameras. When mobile phones began taking digital pictures, the sale of mobile phones went up – ensuring more mobile phones were being produced. This cycle required two things: One, the ability of workers to improve their skills and move from producing analog cameras to digital cameras/mobile phones; and two, everyone needed to improve their purchasing power (without which no one would be able to buy a $700 mobile phone). Both happened, providing us with some evidence of the fact that technology disrupts jobs rather than destroy them.
My vision of an AI-driven future is that all of us will be guaranteed 3-day work weeks because workloads would have been moved to machines. This will give us more time to meet friends, go out with the family, watch movies, read books and go to Kotor!
But even more important is the social impact of AI. Today, those below the poverty line are out of the digital economy and unable to participate in competitive markets. This can largely be attributed to illiteracy. Now, for a moment, imagine AI providing local language translations of everything. Recently, in late April, Google Maps made it possible to read reviews of places of interest in your local language. Soon, a personal assistant will read the reviews aloud in your language. This ability means anyone can ask their smartphone almost anything using natural language. For example, asking “What is my bank balance?” will result in an AI-driven engine spitting out an answer in any language of choice. The manifestation of technology will become, thanks to AI, friendlier. The outcome will be growing inclusion. More people from below the poverty line will have a fair chance to participate in the economy.
The upside is so significant, it can’t be ignored. Not only will AI improve the way we live but also give us more time to live life—by saving us from having to do mundane, every day and repetitive tasks (which anyway have the annoying effect of adding to job dissatisfaction).
Now, where did I put my car keys?