If you are sanguine about the opportunities and challenges of AI (artificial intelligence) in an evolving market (or, already sick to the back teeth on how ubiquitous AI is in today’s workplace) this statistic of Harvard Business Review can make you pause awhile and wonder what the world is coming to…
“Executives and experts from IT and communications sectors are bullish about the potential of artificial intelligence, on a survey by The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society. 45% of respondents said the first AI machine would sit on a corporate board of directors by 2025. 75% predicted that 30% of corporate audits would be performed by an AI by that time. And 78% said that driverless cars would represent at least 10% of the vehicles on U.S. roads.”
In this report, Erik Brynjolfsson, Director, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a prolific author says; “Now comes the second machine age. Computers and other digital advances are doing for mental power – the ability to use our brains to understand and shape our environments – what the steam engine and its descendants did for muscle power.”
It adds, “These changes will impact people around the world. Inventions previously seen only in science fiction, such as artificial intelligence, connected devices and 3D printing, will enable us to connect and invent in ways we never have before. Businesses will automate complicated tasks, reduce production costs and reach new markets. Continued growth in internet access will further accelerate change. In Sub-Saharan Africa and other underdeveloped regions, connectivity has the potential to redefine global trade, lift people out of poverty and topple political regimes. And for many of us, seemingly simple software innovations will transform our daily routines. These changes are not without their challenges; as technology improves the lives of many, we hope to help prepare people to understand and address concerns on privacy, security and job disruption…”
Feel free to grab this intriguing report as it sums up deep shifts happening around us and the timelines for it. That said, the next question is, where does all that leave you and me and in turn, reason for this humble post.
As a manager, if most of your day goes in administrative work, say monitoring or reporting and as a worker, you’re building/sorting/fixing/teaching or ‘strutting your stuff’, depending on your level of support, AI can automate it at best or at worst, soon master basic to intermediate levels and work longer hours and cheaper…so, unless you’re way up the ladder, work advance support or regarded an expert, you may be happy to hear, what is likely to see you through the next decade or two, is a little more creativity, empathy and judgment skill!
If that sounds too easy to be true (make no mistake, it may not be that easy) listen to Tim Leberecht, author of ‘The Business Romantic: Give Everything, Quantify Nothing, and Create Something Greater Than Yourself’ who here asks that in this day and age of artificial intelligence, big data and digitization of everything, are we losing sight of the importance of the emotional and social aspects of our work?
In closing and in tune to this sentiment, ‘we measure our lives in coffee spoons’, it may come to pass that in the near-to-far future, when AI takes over the technical aspects of life, we might see ourselves as a version of AI or Altruistic Intelligence, responsible for taking us to guiding stars and distant shores…
Bhaskar Dutta is a writer and IT specialist based in London.