Artificial Intelligence & Automation – Opportunity or Threat?

Artificial intelligence (AI), data mining, expert system software, genetic programming, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and another modern computer technologies concepts. Brain representing artificial intelligence with printed circuit board (PCB) design.

Articles about Artificial Intelligence (AI) have fascinated me for years – I remember discussions about the scary world of neural networks nearly 20 years ago when studying an Engineering degree. More than ever it’s an area that is developing at a rapid pace and hard to keep up with, but something we are certainly thinking about at Caja in terms of how this impacts our clients. Recent predictions for AI in 2018 published in Forbes suggest that the increased use of AI for ‘Predictive Analytics’, increasingly ‘human like’ interactions via ‘chatbots’ and the expanded use of process automation are all areas where we will see considerable growth and developments this year.

I recently watched a great documentary on Netflix called Alphago – Check it out. It demonstrates how far this technology has come seeing a human and AI computer battle it out across several games of ‘Go’. This is an ancient Chinese game that whilst simple to play is extremely complex because of the number of possible moves – it’s claimed in the documentary ‘more than the number of atoms in the universe’ – my human brain can’t even imagine that many permutations. It had been thought prior to Google’s Deep Mind work on this that it was impossible for a machine to learn the game.

We are now in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution, where we will see new technologies fuse the digital, biological and physical worlds, this has huge implications for businesses, public services and society as a whole. We are seeing almost daily improvements to a host of industries using these technologies; however, maybe there’s a cost? An ethical question if you like, as an article in the Economist last year claimed that studies show that around 35% of UK jobs could be at risk through AI and automation.

Opportunity or threat? – interested in your views?