AI: The promise and the peril

Artificial intelligence is here and its presence and associated disruption will increase in the future. Panelists at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium discussed ways to ease that disruption.

By Taylor Armerding
June 6, 2017

The least disruptive scenario, Ito said, would be for AI to "augment" rather than "automate" the workplace. "Augmentation doesn't mean you've given up your agency," he said. "I don't think letting the machine decide is optimal."

Azarbayejani said augmentation is one of the services his firm provides - listening to workers in large call centers, "not only for measuring (customer service) but how to improve in real time. It's very much augmenting - it doesn't replace humans, but helps them do their jobs better," he said.

For those left unemployed, there was some discussion of the societal implications of providing a UBI (universal basic income) to all people whether they are working or not. But McAfee contended, "we are nowhere near peak labor," and Brynjolfsson said most people want to work and "be engaged in their community. "We're not in a world where we're short of work that humans can do," he said. "That's decades out."

If there is a way to prepare for what is already under way, several panelists said it will have to involve re-thinking education. "Kids should talk to each other and play with one another," Brynjolfsson said. "Right now they are well trained for the first machine age, but not for collaboration and creativity.

McAfee agreed. "An amazing number of entrepreneurs were dropouts," he observed.

Source: CSO Online

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