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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Artificial intelligence won’t take our jobs. It will work with us | Kansas City Star - Opinion

Photo: Frank Friedman
"When talented people and well-programmed computers combine their efforts, they become a killer app that humans and AI alone cannot match" argues Frank Friedman, chief operating officer of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. 

Photo: Scott Stantis, The Chicago Tribune

Mornings are easier than ever for me. True, I need to be careful shaving around the RFID chip in my chin. That’s a small price to pay for not having to look around the house for my wallet and keys, which I no longer need because that tiny chip and biometrics lock my front door and start my car, which now drives itself. And if something goes wrong on the road and I arrive at the hospital unconscious, my RFID chip will present my medical history to emergency room doctors.

Okay, maybe not.

Ten years ago, NBC Nightly News ran a segment explaining how RFID chips and biometrics would transform our lives in ways such as these by 2017. The experts NBC interviewed got some things right, such as the use of fingerprints in some transactions. And yet the experts were merely thinking through the potential of technologies that existed in 2007.

Everyone is focused on the consequences of technology, which we imagine as making change automatic. Less obvious is that the biggest business issue of 2027 might depend on how well businesses have incorporated that know-how. Before technologies can revolutionize our lives, leaders must execute the correct business strategies to make them work. 

Consider Uber, often thought of as an instant disruptor. The ride-hailing service began in 2009 as UberCab, an app for calling limousines. It took Uber a few years to figure out how to upend transportation.

Today, the experts of 2017 tell us the Internet of Things will revolutionize every mundane activity. Blockchain, the decentralized and encrypted technology that powers Bitcoin and other alternative financial transactions, will streamline logistics and pressure time-honored professions by removing the middle person.

But it is artificial intelligence, or AI, that has many experts worried. While Uber can replace the taxi driver, AI can replace us all, we are told.

Every college student I know asks if there will still be jobs in their future. I tell them: Yes, AI has the potential to create more jobs than it kills. In 10 years, I imagine most cognitive workers will be working in creative collaboration with intelligent machines...

...could be wrong. Technology has a way of humbling predictions. Of one thing I am certain: In 2027, I expect to still have a wallet and keys to misplace somewhere in my house. 
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Source: Kansas City Star (blog)