How corporates should prepare for AI

MakerClub Opinion   •   June 05, 2019

AI Machines

AI has already overtaken us

For the first time, computational neural networks can create other neural networks better than humans can. That is to say that machines are rebuilding their own algorithms and in a very real sense, learning. While there is debate around the ramifications of this new technology, the one thing all experts can agree on is that it’s all happening faster than anyone predicted and the effects will be enormous! 

In this article, we will explore how best to understand what is coming down the track, how to communicate this with the rest of the workforce, and how to work with machines to see a 2-3 fold increase in productivity.

There is also a cautionary tale as to what happens if we don’t stand up and take note of the technologies over the horizon.

Understand what’s coming

Fortunately, there are a host of technologists, researchers, economists and thinkers who have reduced their years of hard work to 10-minute TED talks for the rest of us to get a good idea of the space and where we are now. Here are a few of our favourites.

Start the conversation

Depending on who you follow, complete economic upheaval on a global scale is somewhere between 10 and 50 years away. One of the most surprising things about the 4th industrial revolution is how little people are talking about it. We believe that it is one of the underlying factors for the rise in populism today, as jobs are being automated and people start to feel frustrated that things feel like they are declining.

The first step in creating a strategy is to start the conversation internally to understand the opportunities, ideas and even concerns that are shared among the company.

We have created a series of workshops to start exactly this type of conversation in as constructive and positive way possible, but company meetings or training events will also serve as excellent opportunities to encourage discourse.

Race with the Machines

While it is true that AI beat the smartest human at chess decades ago, when humans and AI’s work together, those teams can still beat the best AI’s on their own. Erik Brynjolfsson argues that the best way to work with AIs is to use a combination of human intuition and AI intelligence. Artificial intelligence can already diagnose, with incredible accuracy, lung conditions just from photos, yet it cannot use human intuition to understand the best course of action for that patient or how the condition may fit into other ailments.

Equally, the possibilities are enormous when humans learn how to work with AI to craft complex legal documents and the yearly accounts for enormous multinationals.

Have a long term strategy

A number of commentators are rightfully nervous about the ability we as humans will have to keep up with the pace of change. 80% of the Western World fit into the service industry. How do we upskill those workers who have been replaced by automation? How do we teach and train the next generation for jobs that don’t exist yet?

These are questions for politicians, thought leaders and big businesses, and now is the time to be thinking about them. Here are a few of the more pessimistic, yet altogether plausible outcomes to help us focus our efforts.

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