How Artificial Intelligence is Defining the Future

Artificial intelligence is reshaping the world we live in, and the pace of change is increasing. We recently went deep on AI in The Power of Artificial Intelligence for Good and Evil with Ricky Knox of Tandem, Charlie Delingpole of ComplyAdvantage and Lex Sokolin of Autonomous.

Here are the references that got that impassioned conversation started:

How do we get from a predominantly human labor force to whatever comes next?

We’re getting ever closer to meaningful labor disruption by artificial intelligence, according to AutonomousMcKinsey  and others, and there’s very little planning underway to deal with the consequences. Populism has been picking up steam over the past few years – what will happen when millions of blue collar workers are displaced? We’re going to find out very soon, as self-driving trucks replace human truck drivers, of which there are 3.5 million in the US alone.

$1 Trillion in Artificial Intelligence savings in Financial Services by 2030 – mostly through unemployed humans

Autonomous estimate the economic impact of AI on financial firms globally at $1 trillion by 2030 – specifically in cost savings. That sounds great, but most of those savings will be personnel reductions, i.e. jobless people. In the US alone, 2.5 million bank and FS employees are exposed to AI technologies.

McKinsey estimates that “AI techniques have the potential to create between $3.5 trillion and $5.8 trillion in value annually across nine business functions in 19 industries. This constitutes about 40 percent of the overall $9.5 trillion to $15.4 trillion annual impact that could potentially be enabled by all analytical techniques.” How much of that “value” will be created through unemployment?

HFS Research says that nearly 60% of corporate execs have no dedicated investments or plans to retrain their staff as legacy jobs are eroded by automation. We need to focus on solutions, not cost savings.

As we automate more work and delegate it to machines, humans will be free to engage in more creative pursuits, where we excel. Or will we? (Read on!)

Creativity is the realm of AI

Autonomous note that “machine learning and neural networks create probabilistic models that change in response to new data, and it’s surprising how creative the outcomes can feel. In this way, AI can also be used in a creative capacity to explore a space of ideas quickly or to do emotional tasks…How do we translate this back to financial services? The short term answer is this — anything that humans do using a fairly stable decision process, even if we believe it involves creativity, intuition or reasoning, can be done by machine learning. Period.”

According to UC Berkeley professor Michael Jordan – the computer scientist, not the Hall-of-Famer – the AI revolution hasn’t happened yet. He argues that we need a ‘human-centric engineering discipline‘ to make sure that the technology we create helps humans and doesn’t hurt us.

What is the impact of automation in general and AI in particular on the workforce?

There is a spectrum of opinion:
1) The measured, calm response: This is an incremental change offering a better vision of the world / humans will adapt faster than machines disrupt.
2) The hyperbolic Elon Musk perspective: AI is a huge threat, there will be significant job displacement.
3) The dystopian science fiction view: The machines will kill us all.


Morpheus: At some point in the early twenty-first century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI.

Neo: AI? You mean artificial intelligence?

MorpheusA singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don’t know who struck first, us or them. But we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTU’s of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion the machines have found all the energy they would ever need. There are fields, endless fields, where human beings are no longer born, we are grown. For the longest time I wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes. Watch them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.

(The Matrix, Warner Bros.)

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