“What AI needs is a dose of realism.” That’s what Oren Etzioni, an American entrepreneur, professor of Computer Science, and CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence said to O’Reilly back in January, 2017. Fast forward to May 2018, when Google introduced its Duplex AI service, which was so realistic it actually scared many people. So, will realistic AI turn out to help or harm our society?
As with many other aspects of AI, the opinions seem torn. On one hand, realistic AI means better services, easier to communicate and work with. On the other hand, realistic AI could bring a lot of confusion and create potential for vast changes in society that people might not be ready or willing to accept. Yes, AI is coming closer and closer to the point where the big hurdles and challenges won’t be in technology, but in regulation and overall acceptance.
The differences between the IT world and the real world
One of the main reasons why technology is so popular and advancing so fast it that the IT industry doesn’t’ really follow the typical business rules. A lot of things are different in IT. From the way people conduct business, to the mindset to the goals. Few other industries have “change the world” or “disrupt the world” as a motto written on countless office walls.
This is fine and great, but it also creates a void between IT and the actual world. A void, which is often fixed with better explanations of new technologies. With AI, though, things might be a little bit different. This technology has true potential to completely change the way we live, the way we interact and the way we work. So, explaining it carefully and properly to society is going to vital. This isn’t yet another new smartphone with a cool new feature.
Last year, Elon Musk urged the US government to start working on AI regulations “before it’s too late”. Musk is one of the most vocal AI cautioners. He’s right that if we’re not careful, we might find ourselves with an extremely powerful technology in our hands without clear rules on how to use it. Relying on the good intentions of someone is generally not a good idea, as history has shown more than once.
The business side
And while realistic AI might be quite the sensitive topic for society, it will be a very big benefit to companies. If we look at it from a business point of view, realistic AI will be like heaven on Earth for companies. Imagine a 24/7 support service which is never tired, never lashes out on clients and always finds the best solution to their problems. Or a 24/7 system, which proactively protects the data of your company. How about an AI management platform that analyzes and optimizes your business in real time and explains to you what to do?
The opportunities are truly going to be endless. As AI develops, it will allow SMEs to also integrate many more services at smaller costs. This way, they will have better opportunities to be an even stronger competitor to the big enterprises. It will be the time where good ideas will have a major role for the success of a business and not only the access to resources.
So, realistic AI will definitely bring a lot of good in the world. As long as the new tech is introduced to society with caution and is governed by sensible rules. If all that happens, we will be in for quite the historic times ahead.