Artificial Intelligence (AI), once the domain of low budget futuristic sci-fi movies and TV shows with farcical special effects (think “I, Robot” or Dr Who circa 1970s “I am a Dalek” and don’t laugh) is now a reality. AI has arrived. Take a look around you. Self scan tills in the supermarkets, voice activated gadgets, Apple’s Siri, driverless cars, AI assisted surgical procedures and Google’s increased focus on machine learning. AI is pervading our every day humdrum almost by stealth.
What does it really mean?
Whether you’re a start up, established business, HR, L & D lead, or an employee with your head in your hands wondering if you too can be automated, it’s a facet of the modern workplace that you can’t afford to ignore. Opinion is divided amongst economists and other experts as to how this will change the face of the workplace. Even the UK Parliament has produced a research briefing, titled ‘Automation and the workplace.’ But what does it all mean?
The Automation of Work
The need for people in many roles is becoming obsolete, sooner or later what you do for a living may become automated either cognitively or manually. Great, you may say, that means an eternal weekend, or shorter working weeks, more time for the stuff I like doing. Well, maybe. Life will change undoubtedly. There will be winners and losers. Take a look at this report from the White House on AI, Automation and the Economy https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/…/Artificial-Intelligence-Automation-Economy.PDF for an overview.
The End of Humankind?
Stephen Hawking has even gone as far as to suggest that AI could wipe out humanity. A long weekend stops looking attractive at this point and perhaps a tad too close to “Minority Report” for comfort.
Enter social responsibility and the use of AI. As usual tech heavyweights are ahead of the curve coming together with MIT’s Media Lab and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Centre for Internet and Society to donate up to 27 million to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund. MIT Media Lab Director, Joi Ito states “One of the most critical challenges is how do we make sure that the machines we ‘train’ don’t perpetuate and amplify the same human biases that plague society?” The challenge then becomes to develop AI that “are not only ‘smart’ but also socially responsible.” The Fund is an attempt to steer the development of AI in a more positive and ethical direction.
But a force for good? The honest answer is we still don’t know what the future will look like. Short and long term implications are unknowns but we’d take a pretty good stab that the workplace won’t look like it used to. It’s a new epoch, one in which ethics and social responsibility will need to sit at the helm with the work of the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund leading the way.
Want to now more? Take a look at our blog AI Worried or Excited? here https://positivechangeguru.com/artificial-intelrried-or-excited/