The Pros and Cons of Artificial Intelligence

The development of thinking machines as well as robots has been around for millennia (especially if we consider the parallels present in ancient Greek mythology not to mention in the records of other ancient cultures), and we find some of its more modern origins in Raymond Lull’s concept of ‘Thinking Machines’ (1300 A.D) capable of performing the work of human beings.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has long been in the works and in our modern age really began to operate over 60 years ago, evolving from gigantic data banks that occupied an entire room on through various evolutions that occurred with the advent of the Internet and IT.  Microchips and circuit boards that can store more data, CPUs with higher power capacity, and software systems that can analyze /process data (such as ERP- Enterprise Resource Planning software programs and Software as a Service vs Traditional ERP) became useful tools for every organization and the business/banking world especially (The first teller machines in fact operated on AI technology). While the advent of AI may frighten some people, and there have been repeated warnings from top physicist Stephen Hawking about the dangers of AI (though he argues it will either be the best, or the worst thing to happen to mankind), there are also some positive benefits. Let’s look at both the pros and cons.

We now have robots working in hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and the transport industry, smart cars, smart homes and everything is becoming connected to the ‘Cloud’ as more companies migrate their data to online servers hosted by Cloud providers and more people learn about the multiple uses of IT/AI/Cloud computing applications to enhance and jump-start their market presence, visibility and levels of productivity/customer satisfaction. AI online personal assistants now deliver specific personalized suggestions to customers based on their browser history and social media interactions, while AI processes like Cognitive intelligence, Machine Learning, Text Mining and Semantics Technology can recognize human speech, language and behaviour and filter through and deliver specific or multiple customer/business solutions as close as possible to real-time, anticipating consumer trends and challenges by collecting relevant project oriented data from all across the internet. There are also important and accredited providers like Expert System that offer valuable artificial intelligence software to collect data that businesses can use for strategic purposes.

The lack of human judgement however is another negative factor. Machines can only do what they are programmed to do until they are upgraded- so what happens if there is an ‘abnormal event (i.e. a terrorist attack) that requires critical thinking? The answer is maintaining a level of balance so that humans can still perform tasks that require human intervention while AI self-replicating robots can build cities, factories and build jobs for the future!

The AI partnership with the IT/Cloud technology industrial combine has led to further benefits to help any organization compete and attract bigger and diverse customer audiences in the markets.  They have done this by reducing bureaucracy drastically, realigning the hierarchical structure of the internal organization to promote higher collaboration between and among employees/managers/CEOs. AI has also resulted in cutting costs for hardware, power and maintenance/upgrades thanks to Cloud service providers that can store company data on an external server host of a provider (Public Cloud services), or internally (Private Cloud), or both (Hybrid Cloud Platforms like Microsoft Azure), and through processes like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) which can perform repetitive and calculating tasks that would be impossible for a human being to do over long periods of time due to natural human factors. In this scenario, some wonder if AI is already taking jobs away, and that is an inevitable factor not to be ignored.

Driverless cars are already taking jobs away from taxi drivers; however perhaps they are also a necessity for an aging population and especially for the disabled who cannot drive due to impediments. However in some cases AI can also help employees diversify their skills and contribute more to other facets of the company organization, as well as develop new previously undiscovered skills for new tasks including new product/service placement. In fact many companies are training their IT engineers (including other levels) and upgrading their skills through online courses in AI/Cloud computing, because eventually, as Elon Musk and Alan Car or NGOlswell emphasize, every employee will have to operate in one way or another via AI technology- and that also includes via Virtual Reality systems. Let us remember however, that ultimately the future of AI must be determined by the people, not just any government nor private enterprise, and regulations must be enacted that ensure the adequate safety measures for humans.


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