AI and me
My own journey into the field of AI started from a, perhaps, quite different viewpoint. In 2011, some then-colleagues and I were exploring how to maximise the collective intelligence of groups, teams and organisations, with collective intelligence defined to include both human and computer interaction. This led me on to Thomas Malone’s work at the MIT Centre for Collective Intelligence, tasked with “exploring how people and computers can be connected so that – collectively – they act more intelligently than any person, group or computer has ever done before”.
My journey then continued via Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns in his 1999 work, The Age of Spiritual Machines, leading me to the speculation of when our state of singularity will emerge.
Kurzweil predicts this will happen by 2029, whereas Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, the creator of my favourite robot, Pepper, claims this will not happen until 2047. Our Swedish MIT Professor, Max Tegmark, put it so eloquently: “there is an ongoing race between the pace of technological advancement and human wisdom”. Tegmark further claims that we humans may be dead as a species in less than 70 years unless we utilise our wisdom to get ahead in this race. Could this be the case?
My quest then took another turn as I started to contemplate the question of employment, largely through the eyes of Oxford University’s Osborne and Frey in their 2013 work, in which they posed the question, “what jobs will be taken over by computers in 20 years?”
I realised that there may be some aspects we would want to consider in designing the next paradigm, post the interconnected networked paradigm, which I claim we are in now, and, for sure, post industralism. And then, yet again, I ran into the dilemma of definition: what is a job? Really? Which led me to exploring the free-rider problem and how AI might be able to provide new ways of organising our society in terms of, for instance, wealth distribution and growth KPIs such as GDP.
Having an MSc in Business – and since I work on a daily basis with accelerating business growth into the new interconnected networking paradigm as well as on continued growth within it – that spurred yet another area of interest. What help can we get as a business using AI, to either diminish our costs (aka by increasing efficiency) or add new revenue streams (aka by innovating)? These are the fundamental economic terms upon which business success relies. Well, at least for the time being.
Finally, being something of an optimist, I today find myself posing questions from a more powerful, constructive space – a space of appreciative inquiry; so why not simply decide to use AI as a force for good, shifting not only business, but society, organisations and then, ultimately, ourselves as humans, into something better, something more networked and something more sustainable than we have today?
So, how can you utilise the potential of AI for the greater good?