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What will the future really look like under AI?

Posted: 25 July 2017 | By Charlie Moloney

Opinions on AI are like silicon noses – everybody’s got one, as the ‘battle of the billionaires’ between Mark Zuckerburg and Elon Musk perfectly demonstrates. Although Musk and Zuckerberg are thought leaders in their fields, they’re not the only ones with interesting views.

For the purpose of keeping things balanced, Access-AI has been researching this question, asking tech and business leaders how AI will affect our lives, and our businesses. We think that now is a timely moment to share with you some of the expert views that we’ve gathered over the last month:

Tom Butterworth – Silicon Valley Bank

“I think that all the larger social questions about AI are long term, and it’s very difficult to say what’s going to happen. In the short term, five years, I think you’ll see benefits like increased efficiencies, creating more leisure time, and autonomous vehicles.

It’s great that people like Elon Musk and Sam Altman have put together Open AI to make sure that AI is for the benefit of humanity

“AI will have the similar short to medium term benefit of the transition from the horse to the motor car. The huge negative connotations are focused further down the line. It’s great that people like Elon Musk and Sam Altman have put together Open AI to make sure that AI is for the benefit of humanity.

“Historically, technology has always created more jobs than it has destroyed. I think the key point of AI is around education and training, which is just absolutely key, ensuring people have the right skill sets to be able to find work in a world with increasing automation”.

Tom Butterworth is the managing director of the Silicon Valley Bank’s UK Branch. The Silicon Valley Bank. The SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise to technology and life science businesses.

Misha Bilenko – Yandex

“I certainly think there will be lots of changes, and job market changes are inevitable. Geo-political changes, some large nation states or people being indebted to a large company, I would be sceptical about.

These terrible scenarios of multinational companies enslaving the population with AI, that’s nonsense I think

“Having been at the companies I have been, I think one thing people don’t really appreciate is that fundamentally a lot of the time people working in software companies, and largely the people running those companies, they can be too idealistic to a surprising extent.

“This sort of top-hat capitalist view of these guys trying to have a cabal to rule the world – that’s definitely not true. Deep in their heart, at some point all of these people were hacker kids who just wanted to do something cool. These terrible scenarios of multinational companies enslaving the population with AI, that’s nonsense I think”.

Misha Bilenko is now head of the Machine Intelligence and Research (MIR) department at Yandex, after a decade working at Microsoft. Yandex is a technology company that builds intelligent products and services powered by machine learning. It is one of Europe’s largest internet companies and the leading search provider in Russia.

Bart van der Mark – Cognizant

I would say that there are a couple of scenarios. One is that there is no real human impact, or material impact at all, the other extreme is that there will be a big impact and layoffs. A middle scenario is that there will be impact, but more in terms of the jobs that are changing.

In these last two scenarios, where jobs are changing or where jobs will go away, it is extremely important for businesses to involve the client, to involve all relevant stakeholders from the start. This is what we see goes wrong quite often.

A small group in a company starts experimenting with AI technologies, and then when its successful they go to the board and they say “hey, we have something great”, and then there is a big surprise all of a sudden, and HR is caught by surprise, and the unions start making noise.

We always advise our clients that are introducing a new AI technology that they do very good stakeholder management from day one, including HR.

Bart van der Mark is the conversational AI lead in Europe for Cognizant. Cognizant provides business and technology services, catering to the specific business needs of their clients globally, and they have been named as one of Fortune’s most admired companies nine years in a row, and ranked 9th in Forbes FastTech 25.

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