In our latest blog, we explored the negative connotations of the words “artificial intelligence”. Despite the fact that AI is one of the most exciting technologies around at present, making global headlines for its potential to revolutionise almost every industry, from healthcare to manufacturing, from transportation to agriculture, its dystopian image is leaving people fearful.
But is blaming a fear of a future run by robots too simplistic? Perhaps there’s more to the AI scepticism than meets the eye.
This week, the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones shared a roundup of his week spent at CES is Las Vegas. His piece stated that although you can learn a lot about the exciting potential of artificial intelligence you can also be left wondering whether AI is a triumph of marketing, yet to deliver real improvements to the economy and the way we live.
Perhaps this is the real reason why AI is yet to reach its full potential; it’s an exciting and potentially game-changing technology, but for many it’s still only a dream being pioneered by innovative trail-blazers. However, this all looks set to change in 2018.
In an article on ITProPortal in which IT leaders outline their top trends for 2018, one of the contributors argued that in 2018 AI hype will pass its peak. Many projects have been box-ticking exercises in an AI arms race.
This year will see the C-suite demand a more demonstrable return on investment. 2018’s biggest winners will be the projects where artificial intelligence augments people’s ability to recall or research information and process data, which will move AI closer to its goal of automating data and knowledge retrieval.
Recent qualitative research by CIO.co.uk backs up this claim, by confirming that 38% of CIOs expect AI to have an impact on their sector. Many are planning to implement AI to help with a variety of tasks, from monitoring customers to improving the overall efficiency of their business model.
But with any new technology, there is always a downside, and with AI the one that is causing the greatest concern is that it may lead to job losses, as AI has the potential to undertake certain work faster and with greater accuracy than its human counterparts. These concerns are echoed in a report by PwC, which predicts that ‘careers, in which a person advances through the ranks of a particular field, will increasingly “cease to exist” as artificial intelligence and robots replace more human workers over the next few decades’.
But this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It just requires humans to shift their focus and become more comfortable learning new skills and making a valuable contribution to the world of work in other ways.