Robots arrive, and they’re scary. This is one of the findings of a study commissioned by the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, which assessed public perception of the risks and benefits of automated learning.
But automatic learning and robotics are only two components of Artificial Intelligence, not the whole, and our perception of the associated risk is amplified by a cinematographic sensitivity. For example, the survey shows that we have a particular fear of the predictive police, the idea that government organizations will be able to judge our propensity to all kinds of antisocial behaviours (Minority Report) and even to retaliate (Robocop).
Ordinary consumers do not yet understand Artificial Intelligence – their vision is dystopian – especially as the press repeats tirelessly that AI makes people losing their jobs. This is understandable: one in six American workers is a professional driver, and these jobs will no doubt be eliminated in a future that will be driverless and happens in barely a decade. We are on the brink of the next industrial revolution, and it is tempting to respond emotionally.
But in a passionate article in 2014, Ray Kurzweil, Google futurologist and advisor said that a child in Africa with a smartphone has a smarter access to knowledge than the President of the United States had there at 20 years. As Artificial Intelligence becomes more and more intelligent, its use will only grow. It will improve the mental abilities of virtually everyone within a decade. The typical dystopian futuristic film has one or two individuals or groups fighting for control of AI. But this is not how Artificial Intelligence is integrated into the world today. AI is not in the hands of one or two people, it is between one or two billion hands.
This is an important point. Forget about downloading the mind (Matrix); the most widespread driver of Artificial Intelligence is in our hands: the smartphone and it has already democratized access to a computing power that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. AI will actually take jobs out of the market. However, while commentators are right that we will need more caregivers and educators, it will not be the only option. New work paradigms will be offered to more people than ever before – because in a connected world, Artificial Intelligence can change the world of work for the better, for everyone. Here are some of the ways in which AI already infiltrates our professional lives…
Finding work, finding talent
You can find out who is looking for a job. These are the ones who recently updated their Linkedin profile. You see, most of us think of the job market only when we are actually looking for work. With the help of the AI, jobseekers can be informed when appropriate opportunities arise. Similarly, businesses will be better equipped to seek talent or to build and maintain richer relationships with talented people, well before and after employment. The AI will also help to eliminate prejudice and professionalize the recruitment process. .
Amazon has a vast cohort of data at its disposal, but despite the promises of data-driven marketing, even this powerful juggernaut is not able to do much better than – you bought one product, and someone else bought the same product and then he/she bought a second product, so you might like the second product as well. Indeed, the fact that we are all aware retargeting, ads” follow me “and other advertising techniques shows that the deeply experiential marketing has not yet reached its full potential. Artificial Intelligence will improve targeting, segmentation, and multi-device and multi-channel relevance. While the first generation of Internet services puts unlimited information at our disposal, AI will make this information practical to evaluate, select and use rather than overwhelm us, and it will also extend into the real world-brands involved following us into stores to offer us a fluid and more relevant business experience.
Searching for customers is always more difficult, and people are not always the best tool for this. Online migration has made delivery of services simpler, (most clients use human interaction only for exceptions, when the answer is not found immediately online), but it has also made customers more demanding. We want answers in seconds, not a painful conversation with a customer advisor rummaging through our account authorizations. Robots learn quickly and can surpass human assistants in certain situations.
There are currently no sectors that are not affected by technology. Indeed, most large companies admit that they are in a perpetual state of transformation due to the collision of technologies to offer new economies and opportunities, or they lag behind without realizing it. Technology giants (Google, Microsoft) are looking to use machines for an ever wider set of problems. Start-ups that promote technology (Uber, Palantir) disrupt the status quo in their chosen niche segment, and the great names of the 20th century industry (GE, Johnson & Johnson) respond with internal innovation laboratories to revitalize their own market sectors. All are powered by the cloud, unlimited IT infrastructure and near-instant deployment, thanks to new trends such as containerization. In the world of software as a service, it is now possible to run software on a laptop in a cafe – and know that it will work exactly the same way when there are millions of users in the Cloud. With access to technology that is no longer a complexity, what companies do – and in what way – will become the source of competitive advantage and growth.
The travel sector is subject to unique pressures. In particular, disconnections in the railway, air and accommodation markets mean that almost no one pays exclusively on the basis of the services he uses. We pay more for necessity, convenience, or simply, our travel options are even dictated by the price of fuels established years ago. These markets are also fragmented: a flight can involve 25 different companies providing the necessary, from the airplane to the catering service, and yet, travellers are generally quite unhappy. As a result, anything that can make the process of going from A to B easier for passengers, and more economical for suppliers, will be welcomed. All airlines have their own applications, so it’s no surprise that they are surfing the potential offered by conversational agents – especially on the ubiquitous Facebook platform.
Human resource management
When human resource management is strategic, it is a triumph. Yet, too often, this becomes a tactical exercise of box checking. The AI will enhance human resource management by using data to link team dynamics to business results. Instead of reactively hiring to fill gaps, HR professionals will know what skills are needed for problem solving and strategy development. They will know which sizes and types of team will get the best results. And they will know how to motivate each individual to get the best overall performance.
Virtual Reality has different effects depending on the situation and the sector, especially since AI is beginning to influence what we can achieve in virtual environments. In medicine, for example, Augmented Reality and robotics are already used to improve patient outcomes. In aviation, the first personal flight training simulators are now available. In the gaming sector, Virtual Reality is simply the natural evolution of the suspension of disbelief that we have enjoyed for more than five decades, to improve our skills, to optimize our human capacities in the field, or simply to enjoy a rest time.
And all the rest
Undoubtedly, everything we think is the pinnacle of technology today will be reinvented tomorrow, and only businesses that are prepared to ride the wave of change will survive. But the examples above show some universal trends, which should all excite us.
First of all, whether through robotics or automatic learning, the technology comes out of the screen. We will see and feel it integrated into our routines; In fact, if everything works properly, we will not see or feel it at all.
Similarly, technology will focus on and improve the human experience. Where connections have traditionally given us information, they will now give us experiences and choices. As with every technological change so far, even if there are always losers in the rebalancing, there will also be many who will emerge from financial poverty or poverty of access and who will receive new opportunities.
Finally, we will be able to do more. This can mean stuffing more things in a day’s work. This can also mean doing things that are currently beyond our imaginable skills. Just as the smartphone has made us photographers and videographers, with an Artificial Intelligence complicit and a robot partner, we will all be able to exceed our own expectations.