Last week’s World Economic Forum in snowy Davos, Switzerland, brought a blizzard of proclamations about the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence, along with an avalanche of debate over its job-killing potential.
The good news for us humans is that the current generation of AI technologies being used to automate data collection and processing — such as machine-learning software that amasses more expertise as it analyzes data or neural networks modeled after the human brain — are more likely to augment the human workforce rather than replace it. At least for now.
Indeed, almost two-thirds of the business executives responding to a survey released last week by IT consulting firm Infosys (PDF) said they believed AI would “bring out the best in their organization’s people.” The rise of AI, the Infosys poll respondents suggest, will place a premium on skills such as creativity and logical reasoning. Noted IBM chairwoman and CEO Ginni Rometty, in remarks Wednesday at Davos, said: “History has taught us many things. When you [have] powerful technologies, you have a responsibility that they’re introduced in the right way.”
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