What is it exactly that makes artificial intelligence such an essential and special technology right now? Artificial intelligence and deep learning expert probably said it best when he described artificial intelligence as the new electricity. In saying this, he demonstrated his belief that AI will soon power most of our activities in society and business, drastically changing the ways we work and live.
I personally believe that learning how AI works and understanding its implications for our lives is at least as important as learning to read and write. In other words, I recognize that we are now beginning to live in an era of AI, so it’s important to learn as much as we can about it early on.
What Makes Artificial Intelligence So Important Right Now?
While there are many reasons to prioritize learning about AI, here are a few that I believe are most important:
Speed of AI Implementation
New AI technologies are being introduced at an incredibly fast pace and it can be difficult to keep up. At this point in time, only a handful of people truly understand all of the implications these quickly evolving technologies will have for our world. Obviously, these rapid changes will generate a number of challenges, as we’ll cover in later chapters of the book.
Potential Impacts on Society
It’s hard to imagine the sheer number of things that AI will be able to improve, transform or create, as we begin to apply it to so many different areas of life.
Prioritizing of AI by Every Large Tech Company
Even Google, a company that used to say that mobile was its first priority, has shifted its focus toward AI. Nearly every tech company is heavily investing in AI research and development, which clearly demonstrates the importance that AI holds for businesses in general.
Shortage of Knowledgeable Workers
Because AI is growing so rapidly, there is a great need for more data scientists, machine learning experts, and other technical professionals who can build out AI solutions and services. There is also a shortage of other professionals, such as teachers and consultants, to help to explain the implications of the growth of AI, which will in turn help businesses and individuals adapt to the new realities.
Competitive Advantages for Companies who First Apply AI Correctly
Both big and small companies can apply AI, and those who do it first, and correctly, will enjoy stunning competitive advantages.
Legal Implications Worldwide
In almost every country, laws and regulations will need to be reviewed and updated to incorporate the new trends of the AI era. There is also a demand for information on the ways that societies can benefit by applying AI to various fields like healthcare and transportation.
As we prepare for the growth of AI, we need to push companies to develop new technologies ethically and responsibly, to better serve humanity and improve standards of living around the world. While this is easier said than done, these types of policies really need to be implemented sooner rather than later as AI continues to develop.
Communication of Advantages and Opportunities
People who work for tech companies tend to offer the most positive outlook on the future opportunities that will be afforded by AI. However, outside of that sector, people often have negative impressions about AI tools due to a lack of understanding.
Sharing information about the benefits offered by AI will be an important factor in helping people to feel comfortable with adopting these new technologies.
In the future, the most productive members of society will work together with AI, forming robot to human partnerships, making their endeavors much more efficient. It is important to share knowledge with everyone on how this can be done properly.
Collaboration Between Private and Public Sectors
Research and development of AI should not only be taking place in large tech companies. Instead, there needs to be strong and open collaboration internationally, as well as between companies of all sizes, and between the public and private sectors.
Helping science to fight pandemics and other health crises
In the global 2020 pandemic, we learn a great deal of the power of artificial intelligence to support science and expert working to stop the pandemic. Small Canadian AI startup was able to alert about the Coronavirus outbreak much earlier than most governments or World Health Organization. In the future, several AI tools will be used to detect a new possible infestation
. Also, countries who were best able to flight the Pandemic such as Taiwan and South Korea used several AI-based technologies to protect their citizens and to stop the outbreak. Probably all the countries will invest heavily in AI to help with the protection and preparation of possible next health crises.
One harmful and potentially dangerous AI development is the use of AI for the surveillance and monitoring of citizens. According to a report called The Global Expansion of AI Surveillance, 75 countries are currently using AI technologies for surveillance purposes through the use of smart city platforms, facial recognition, and smart policing. In most cases, these technologies are being employed to make governments more powerful, and without giving any consideration to civil liberties or ethical guidelines.
Also, most people are unaware of the harmful effects of using AI surveillance technologies because AI is still not being raised as one of the critical issues in most political or societal discussions. I see this as a very negative development and something we should all pay closer attention to.
These are just a few of the reasons why everyone should begin seeking out more information about AI technologies. At the end of this book, you’ll find a set of 20 questions and answers that cover a number of topics related to those listed above.
I hope that as you read through the topics covered in this book, you will not only become more interested in AI, but will also be challenged to speak more openly and often about it, and perhaps even begin to work with new AI tools for yourself.
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