Everyone imagines a dystopian moment with Ai. The end of humanity as we know ourselves today, working as drones to keep machines alive in the future. The question I raise is, why would we do that?
I am not referring to maintaining the robots, artificial intelligence systems, or computers that house them as risks. There is work in that. But why would we create machines to replace humans and to take over this planet? It isn't very smart to do so. Even Authoritarians and Totalitarians would be put out of work! Although perhaps Ai can figure out how to free those people from under their rule.
So, what would be impacted? For jobs with increasingly no human interest, we would for production where precision and accuracy are required to eliminate most human errors that cause defects and recalls during manufacturing and assembly. Then, in that case, we should also consider surgery where everyone would want absolutely no mistakes. As a member of this human race, I wish for fewer errors and risks in how I am treated related to my health, the equipment we work with, and the appliances we use.
Of course, there is the pharmaceutical side as well. How much faster could Ai identify and tailor treatments for different diseases for each patient in seconds? No reason not to use Ai for that. There could always be a home economics Ai, budgeting your income to pay bills, tax planning, investments, choosing groceries and creating a menu plan and eliminating the headaches for most humans who don’t like doing it or don’t know how. So why not.
Or a home companion for your grandparents, an Ai unit that can have conversations with them, remind them to take their meds, perhaps linked to an Apple Watch able to keep track of their whereabouts and call for emergency services if needed. That’s a good use of Ai and even with small robots in this environment. What about an Ai that greets you when you come home from work? It’s been monitoring your home security systems. Or for those that live alone to have a conversation with someone that’s not biased and hears your troubles of the day or anxiety. These Ai's could be programmed for any situation. Again why not? It beats being lonely.
It could also break down bureaucracy; the slow process of government could be sped up to help those in genuine need and stop those from taking advantage of the system. Think about urban planning and how more effective it can be if it sticks to parameters outlined by good governance, and environmental and social rules. And make approvals happen faster and ensure that costs for housing are cut and create affordability. They can eliminate biased judgements and the process of building permits. Why stop there let's lower all taxes. You could have your income tax return in minutes.
What about cars and appliances that self-diagnose themselves and can request an over Thea air download for a system repair or advise you to call service? That should be standard on all cars and appliances in the future. Tesla can diagnose your vehicle remotely and do over-air upgrades already. Why can’t we do the same before we go to the hospital? A home diagnostic system that takes your vitals and recommends making an appointment with your doctor or visiting a 24-hour clinic.
Nevertheless, many seem scared, but that doesn’t mean we should stop and not pursue improving our lives. I don’t see Ai as a threat as long as there are regulations. Do no harm!
Will companies invest in Ai and Robotics to eliminate their dependence on humans? That’s already happening at a lightning rate in manufacturing. Grocers, drugstores and hypermarkets are using self-checkout. These low-level computers with scanners expedite your shopping and placing orders to replenish shelves. During the pandemic, we adjusted to work from home for those that could. Over the last forty years, we've adapted to ATM Machines, automated airport check-ins, parking lots without attendants, and paying at a restaurant with an automatic credit card machine, using our Apple watches to buy a Starbucks coffee. With over 100 million subscribers on ChatGPT, we have already embraced Ai. There is no turning back.
Let's not forget the geopolitical conundrum and militaristic risks if we ignore Ai. Our freedom to choose, debate, and protest, is not a luxury every nation has. We must also defend that. However, we've heard it in the news quite often. Ai is the new weapon of choice. Not pursuing Ai technology leaves nations vulnerable politically, militarily and economically. It is that simple. We need to speed ahead because it would be a mistake not to.
Ultimately, Ai and robots can change our lives for the better. Sure, there will be career implications for all of us; it will rewrite how we even look at and apply economics. Our most enormous human consequence is to do nothing, rolling the dice and hoping everything will work out. After 30 years of leading people, brands and boards, I can tell you that never ends well. To overcome that, we will all need continuous career planning steps; there is likely an Ai for that too.
George Minakakis is the CEO of Inception Retail Group Inc. And the author of The New Bricks & Mortar Future Proofing Retail. I help retail brands see their way into the future and reset their leadership teams' direction. Facilitate leaders with their expansion plans into Canada and Internationally.