Of late, one subject domain has really captured my imagination. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the massive disruption it’s going to bring to the world.
Over the next couple of months, I am going to be reading a lot about this topic. Even as I write this, I have started reading Alec Ross’ ‘The Industries of the Future’. I also intend to read Tim O’Reilly’s ‘WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us’ and Max Tegmark’s ‘Life 3.0’.
But why AI?
Early on this month, on my commute to the office, I decided to skip the radio chatter and listen to something productive and useful. I stumbled upon an insightful interview of Vinod Khosla on the future of AI. In case you don’t who he is, Khosla is a billionaire investor and technologist. He was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems.
His prescience about the disproportionate changes AI is going to bring stunned me. I subsequently checked out the podcasts and videos of other stalwarts such as Ray Kurzweil and Nick Bostrom.
Just as the internet killed off the intermediaries and reduced systemic friction all over the world, so will the AI. But unlike the internet, AI is expected to cause more pain than gain, at least in the beginning. Thus far, whenever you talk to people about the labour impact of the AI, they talk about job displacement in manufacturing.
The bitter truth, however, is that advanced robots and AI are not only going to be assembling cars, they would render a large section of the service sector jobless.
If a robot can flip 200 burgers in an hour, slice onions and clean floors, why would you require a dozen people at an outlet? The best part of the investment in robots is that they are not going to ask for the monthly salary and yearly incentives. So, out of the window goes this-month’s-best-employee plaque.
If you further connect the dots, the change won’t stop there. This, in turn, could make the HR function obsolete. For a handful of human employees, AI could take care of the payroll processing and tax administration.
Law is another area where AI will make an astronomical impact. With the exponential advances in machine learning, AI can store swaths of legal documentation and knowledge of precedents.
This could streamline the legal domain. That said, the paralegal experts and patent attorneys could be in for trouble as an AI system could easily reproduce any structured contract within minutes.
I am both excited and scared by the vast extent AI would affect us. These are still early days and we still are in a speculative zone as far as the magnitude of the AI impact is concerned. But industry insiders and AI experts have started ringing the bells of change already.
Here’s Vinod Khosla on the impact on Healthcare sector in another 15 years courtesy AI,
“I see no reason to consult a human being in medicine after the next 15 years. There will be no reason to have a doctor.”
Going forward, I will be writing more about AI and its implications. I will read and review books related to AI, too. If AI has seized your imagination, too, let me know how you plan to enhance your knowledge of this wonderful field.