At the recent Davos 2017, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum in conversation with Sergey Brin, co-Founder of Alphabet Google, described his book the 4th Industrial Revolution1 published just a year ago, as rapidly evolving with the rise of artificial intelligence2. While this revolution in fusion of physical, digital, and biological worlds from 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and net shape processing to nanotechnology, bioengineering to deep neural networks were. Underpinned by hyperscaling of infrastructure and advances in consumerization and embedding technology. Most commentators and governments are looking at the positive and negative consequences of these changes both in terms of direct human work impact and indirect associated activity that may be impact from automation and a society with AI.
Transition to an AI Society
The main driver for this revolution is not only the affordability and availability of reliable sensors and computing resources, but also the advancements made in software in particular within the realm of artificial intelligence (eg. machine learning). Andrew Ng recently said there was little if any industry that could not be impacted by AI in some form, and described AI as “the new electricity”.
While AI is projected to have a pervasive potential for disruption across most industry and business sectors, it is nevertheless important to distinguish the hype from real expectations for such a technology, particularly for practitioners and professionals within our society. Nevertheless, we must heed the cautions expressed by the preeminent minds of our times, never before in the history of humans has there been the availability of hardware and software that will enable humans to contrast ‘intelligent machines’. The interconnection of devices when coupled with the automation using these new kinds of technology will have a very serious impact on human employment, privacy, security, social and economic wellbeing – that will have huge long-term consequences and implications for the society of human beings.
- How do we see past the Hollywood myths of the rise of machine intelligence?
- What are the key practical terminology and meanings behind concepts of Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, and reasoning?
- How are industries that are emerging as first impacts in AI seeing its impact in greater insights, new experience and potential?
- What are the future consequences of this new race in intelligence?
Earlier revolutions of industry, agrarian, political and social dislocations started in the West and East at different times, which have now become a global phenomenon. Have we reached a point in time where Adam Smith6 economics of the 18th century that defined the basis of the wealth of Nations as economic wellbeing, needs revising in order to accommodate changing value? Changes within our society and habitat, such as aging populations and increasing limitations of global resources and concerns over greenhouse gases, etc. will inevitably present us with new challenges and hurdles for humankind to overcome often in unrealistic timeframes.
What will be the new jobs in this new world and how will these kinds of new technology help to create new jobs, which will be balanced in some manner given that the distribution of work and wealth will change drastically in the next few decades. Pursuing laissez-faire economic policies with minimal intervention on people’s rights and wellbeing may need to be rethought as changes are brought upon the very mechanisms of wealth creation and sharing are integrated, and even controlled, by machine automation.
Professor Mark Skilton, Dr Felix Hovespian
Forthcoming book: The Fourth Industrial Revolution: An Executive Guide to Intelligent Systems, 2017 Palgrave Macmillan. Professor Mark Skilton. Dr Felix Hovespian.
1. Klaus Schwab, The 4th Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum, 2016 ISBN-13 978-1-944835-00-2
2. The future of AI and google 2017 , Davos 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBLN1UJbiyw&feature=youtu.be&a
3. Dr. Andrew Ng: Artificial Intelligence is the New Electricity, January 25 2017. Stanford MSx Future Forum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21EiKfQYZXc&feature=youtu.be&a (Dr. Andrew Ng, VP & Chief Scientist of Baidu; Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Coursera; and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University)
4. Should Baidu be your AI and machine learning platform?, Dec 1, 2016, ZDnet, http://www.zdnet.com/article/should-baidu-be-your-ai-and-machine-learning-platform/
5. Adam Smith: The Father of Economics, Sept 7 2016 , Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/updates/adam-smith-economics/