The Future Impact of AI – More Important Than Fire?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has won big, again. In January, not only CES’ range of innovations pushed it (again) – after spectacular hooks like citizenship for robot Sophia or DeepMind became able to teach walking to itself. At crisp World Economic Forum 2018 Sundar Pichai, CEO Google, recently talked about the rise of the technology, just after he had made a groundbreaking statement regarding its future impact: “AI will be more important than fire and electricity.”

– Source / Video: MSNBC via YouTube

Where Is The Beef: AI Pour On Rocket Fuel

Four emerging next transformative technology waves – so-called innovation S-curves – were analysed by Benedict Evans of American venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in his presentation “10 Year Futures (Vs. What’s Happening Now)” (2017).

From the four emerging technologies pointed-out ––

  • Autonomy stuck somewhere in the the gate where the goal was to get it to work,
  • Cryptocurrency was where the technology worked and a suitable product market is to be identified,
  • Mixed Reality is shown to be at a stage between the two.
  • And AI was in the stage be be ‘pour on rocket fuel’.

– Source / Video: a16z via YouTube

Shift to AI-First – Computing Becomes More Intelligent

In a relating blog post about the product development of Google Assistant, Sundar Pichai described the motivation for the company to shift from mobile first to AI-first (2016):

“When I look at where computing is heading, I see how machine learning and artificial intelligence are unlocking capabilities […] This means that the power of the software — the “smarts” — really matter for hardware more than ever before. […] In the next 10 years, we will shift to a world that is AI-first, a world where computing becomes universally available […] and interacting with all of these surfaces becomes much more natural and intuitive, and above all, more intelligent.”

– Additionally about “Making AI work for everyone” regarding machine learning (2017):

“This shift isn’t just about building futuristic devices or conducting cutting-edge research. We also think it can help millions of people today by democratizing access to information and surfacing new opportunities.”

In an one-on-one talk with Klaus Schwab, the initiator of WEF, Picar pointed out that, despite all concerns about the impact on human beings’ work and life, the potential benefits couldn’t be ignored –– “The risks are substantial, but the way you solve it is by looking ahead, thinking about it, thinking about AI safety from day one, and to be transparent and open about how we pursue it.”

– Source / Video: ExpovistaTV via YouTube

But as well at WEF, Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.com, talked openly about chances and risks, stating:

“I think AI should support human beings. Technology should always do something that enables people. […] The computer will always be smarter than you are; they never forget, they never get angry. But computers can never be as wise a man.

– Title photo: 9to5Google


Learn more about and explore the possibilities of AI for your industry business –– at automatica, the leading exhibition for smart automation and robotics, and IT2I as its IT special subject area with forum, from June 19th to 22th, 2018, at Messe München.


Edited by Ingo Becker

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