The World has seen development/growth primarily driven by the Industrial revolutions. Each of these revolutions changed the way we looked at a time of economic dislocation; when old ways of production become defunct and they had to give way to far better/newer ways of production that could harness the improvement brought in by new machines. The First Industrial revolution was powered by the invention of the loom the second by the steam engine and the third by the assembly line, the fourth however will be powered by the machines that seem to think. We are HERE in the fourth one.
Between each industrial revolution to the next, there is long and bumpy road connecting one era of business and technology to the next, the evolution of each industrial revolution follows the part of an S-curve (as show in figure below)
- IDEA BURST : Breakthrough, high concentration in wealth, new industries created, new tech create press clipping but no impact on existing industries
- BUMPY ROAD :Revolution stalls, skepticism on value creation in phase I, economic models and value chains created, change in existing industries
- MASSIVE LIFT UP : Everybody richly rewarded, National GDP gets vertical lift off, Large wealth distribution
Just to see the impact of such AI driven world that is in front of us, few commonsensical usage of AI in the future world are below.
- 1/3rd of all food produced go to waste, could be moved to Third world countries by usage of AI to address the hunger prevalent there
- 12 million Medical misdiagnoses in US only contribute to 4,00,000 deaths. By the right usage of AI, most of these deaths can be avoided
- Driverless cars are reducing the Annual # of accidents from 4.2 to 3.2 per million miles driven. This will improve as days go by
Now that the machines are in, we need to see what is that we are supposed to expect
- Technology will be embedded into everything (IoT – Internet of Things)
- As machines become better, it is but obvious that by year 2030 standards, the current frame work of machines will stink. Advent of improvements on these machines
- Becoming Digital – mastering the three Ms (raw Materials, new Machines, and business models)
While the above statistics on Job displacement is detrimental to many of human futures, however the pace of elimination will be slow. Consider the following
- Most likely scenario : 12% elimination in next 10 to 15 years
- 3 scenarios
- Job Automation: 12% are at risk
- Job Enhancement: 75% of existing jobs will be altered
- Job Creation: 13% net new jobs will get created due to new machine requirements or new job categories
- 3 scenarios
The advent of 13% of new job and the ones that cant automated and enhanced still would need human intervention and keep the true need of humans in place vis-a-vis machines replacing each one of us – Scary isnt it?
So Let me introduce you to some key definitions to keep us on track of this arduous journey
What is AI?
Artificial Intelligence – Coined in 1956 by Dartmouth Assistant Professor John McCarthy, ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) is a general term that refers to hardware or software that exhibits behavour which appears intelligent. In the words of Professor McCarthy, it is “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs.”
Other sources terms AI(Artificial Intelligence) as an area of computer science that focuses on machines that learn. There are 3 types of AI prevalent
- Narrow AI (ANI)/Applied AI: Purpose built and business focus on a specific task. E.g. Driving a car, Reviewing an X-ray, Tracking financial trades
- General AI (AGI)/Strong AI: pursuit of a machine that has same general human intelligence as a human. E.g. figuring out how to make coffee in an average American home
- Super AI: 10(or 1000) steps ahead of us. Technical genie – havoc around us
By the way, AI has existed for decades, via rules-based programs that deliver rudimentary displays of ‘intelligence’ in specific contexts. Progress, however, has been limited — because algorithms to tackle many real-world problems are too complex for people to program by hand. To resolve the area of complex problems is the world of ML (Machine Learning)
Machine learning (ML) is a sub-set of AI. All machine learning is AI, but not all AI is machine learning . Machine learning lets us tackle problems that are too complex for humans to solve by shifting some of the burden to the algorithm. As AI pioneer Arthur Samuel wrote in 1959, machine learning is the ‘field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.’
The goal of most machine learning is to develop a prediction engine for a particular use case. An algorithm will receive information about a domain (say, the films a person has watched in the past) and weigh the inputs to make a useful prediction (the probability of the person enjoying a different film in the future). Machine learning algorithms learn through training. An algorithm initially receives examples whose outputs are known, notes the difference between its predictions and the correct outputs, and tunes the weightings of the inputs to improve the accuracy of its predictions until they are optimized.
Why is AI important?
AI is important because it tackles difficult problems in a way our human brain would have done but much faster and less erroneous- obviously resulting in human well-being. Snce the 1950s, AI research has focused on five fields of enquiry:
- Reasoning: the ability to solve problems through logical deduction
- Knowledge: the ability to represent knowledge about the world (the understanding that there are certain entities, events and situations in the world; those elements have properties; and those elements can be categorised.)
- Planning: the ability to set and achieve goals (there is a specific future state of the world that is desirable, and sequences of actions can be undertaken that will effect progress towards it)
- Communication: the ability to understand written and spoken language.
- Perception: the ability to deduce things about the world from visual images, sounds and other sensory inputs.
AI has thus already gone past imaginations and already is part of our home, workplace, community and what not. To say it simply, it’s infiltrating all the frameworks that are driving the global economy. From Siri, Alexa, Google Home, to Nest to Uber the world is covered with smart machines which are operating on extremely strong software platforms which in turn are in self learning mode. And I am not sure if it’s the best part or the scary part – This is the just the BEGINNING!!!. I call it scary because these new inventions are always “ready to learn” and constantly “adding intelligence” which will very soon challenge and enhance the intellect and experience of the savviest professionals in every sector.
Stay tuned…. Part II of this foray, we will dwell upon the Raw Materials and New Machines that outline the core of the AI platform.