Artificial intelligence boom

It’s been almost a year since my last post. Typical.

During the past year I have become very excited about artificial intelligence. I have both read a ton of articles about it and had the opportunity to meet and interview the best minds in Finland on the topic. It has been a ride.

It took me a while to understand the magnitude of the change AI is going to make in all of our lives. I had heard the big predictions before, but when someone is telling all jobs will be forfeit, you very soon lose interest if there is nothing concrete behind these accusations. It takes time and effort to understand what is going on.

The key to understanding AI and its implications  is in fact time. If we look far enough to the past, we can see the big changes in human history. A hundred years ago 70% of the population was farming and nobody went to the gym. Now about 2 % of workforce gets their bread from agriculture (pun intended) and 70 % of people go to the gym (I have no evidence of the gym-going percentages, but it sounds cool and the point is more important  than exact figures). Yet the 68 % of people are not unemployed. The industrial revolution happened gradually and everyone found new occupations. In time.

We are approaching similar kind of disruptive age (now I’m preaching doom). This time the change will happen much faster, which will cause more trouble to people, but eventually everything will get better. Following the industrial revolution, there is one important thing to understand, however. The machines are not stealing our jobs. They are merely helping us with routine jobs that machines are better at. We, the people, will have to learn new skills to work with the AI-operated systems and at the same time find new things to do. Starting a gym for example.

So, instead of being afraid of super-intelligence, self-driving cars or robots, be curious and think of all the dull things in your own job. Those are the first ones to be thrown to the AI-lions and we need to help that happen sooner rather than later.