The world has undergone a series of transformations in the past couple of centuries – transformations in politics, intellectual development, and industrialization. Some of these posed good changes, but of course, comes change are opportunities and challenges.
Changes in the industry, otherwise referred to as the Industrial Revolution, gravely altered basic social patterns. Industrialization promoted movement, but also disruption. Packed in slums and harsh labor conditions were workers who, while greeted the disruptions with outright resistance, failed to slow the pace of technological change bound to displace them.
Hundreds of years later, another transformation is bound to happen in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many industry experts fear that the continuous and inevitable rise of this impressive invention will cause humanity too much of a toll. One has even compared the world’s current situation with a familiar scenario from the British Industrial Revolution where wages did not increase for nine decades and living standards continuously declined while technology progressed.
AI is coming whether we like it or not, and there will be inevitable consequences. The best thing we can do is prepare ourselves as it completely takes over our workplaces and lives, and make sure that we have the right knowledge needed to deal and adapt to this major change that is about to come.
As the world reinvents itself through artificial intelligence, it is crucial to question, what are we really signing up for? Will machines become super-intelligent and will humans eventually lose control? How that will balance out is anyone’s guess and up for much debate and for many people to contemplate.
The Challenges of AI
Work displacement. Replacement of cognitive progress. Removal of human elements. Alarmist headlines have used these points to show the threats of AI. According to an article written by Bernard Marr, an internationally known strategic advisor to companies, artificial intelligence will definitely cause our workforce to evolve. According to PwC, 7 million existing jobs will be replaced by AI in the UK from 2017-2037, but 7.2 million jobs could be created.
Another issue surrounding AI is its tendency to fail what it’s programmed to do as it crosses ethical or legal boundaries. While originally intended to benefit humanity, some experts fear that AI will be our doom as well if it chooses to achieve goals that are destructive. Hence, it is important to keep in check that as we move along the further development of AI, its goals are aligned with the overarching goals of humans.
Moreover, since AI is highly fueled by data, issues concerning privacy are also on the hot seat. In order for AI algorithms to progress, it needs to be fed by more and more data that is collected about every single minute of every person’s day. One relevant example is China’s social credit system which can be a gateway to social oppression.
AI surely has a huge transformative impact that will have far-reaching economic, legal, political and regulatory implications, and we should be ready to discuss these. Concerns on who is at fault if an autonomous vehicle hurts a pedestrian or if the social credit system is ethical are just some of the discussions waiting in the line; but one thing is sure, those unintended outcomes of artificial intelligence will likely challenge us all.
The Promises of AI
“All will be well in the new world,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, when asked if AI is something to worry about. While AI is mostly portrayed to be a ticking time bomb, it has its promises. Here are some of the positive impacts of AI on society.
Artificial intelligence can dramatically improve the efficiencies of our workplaces and can augment the work humans can do. AI can take over repetitive tasks and leave the essential ones that humans are better equipped to do, such as creativity and empathy, which could increase happiness and job satisfaction because people will now work on tasks that are engaging.
In terms of healthcare, AI can improve facilities and medical organisations, and reduce operating costs and save money, with better monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. An insight from McKinsey predicts that $100 billion can be saved annually by the medicine and pharma industry through big data. With deep learning and AI algorithms, it is expected to change the landscape of diagnosing diseases such as early detection of breast cancer.
With just the introduction of self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, society will gain countless productivity hours. Not to mention its attempt on solving traffic congestion, which if successful, can free up humans from stressful and time-consuming commutes. Human error is the main cause of 90% of most road accidents. Venture companies are investing on budding companies realizing self-driving cars and trucks which can drastically reduce road accidents.
While it appears to be ironic that wanting to solve human problems might need solutions that remove human elements, we can not afford to ignore that AI does show quite impressive promises as an aid, not just for industries, but humanity in general. AI is coming whether we like it or not, and there will be inevitable consequences. The best thing we can do is prepare ourselves as it completely takes over our workplaces and lives, and make sure that we have the right knowledge needed to deal and adapt to this major change that is about to come.
One organization that specializes in AI is Croyten. It helps organizations prepare for the emergence of artificial intelligence and ensure that no organization will be left behind in this transition. If your organization is planning to get on board through artificial intelligence, then allow Croyten’s experienced consultants to assist you with your AI transformation.