What do autonomous taxis in Singapore, the "da Vinci" robotic surgical system, and the application of virtual reality in worlds of experience have in common with the latest technology trends? All these innovations are based on artificial intelligence (AI).
As a key technology of digitization, AI is increasingly getting involved in different areas of our everyday lives, since companies explore new technologies to provide customers with optimal shopping experiences and products. AI will also shape the day-to-day work itself in the future: e.g. banks and insurance companies optimize their customer communication by means of AI, and counseling sessions are recorded and evaluated by AI so that employees are subsequently given feedback and are coached by the system.
But AI not only relieves people of their jobs, it also has the potential to completely replace jobs as its improvement progresses: Google introduced, for instance, its Duplex in May 2018 at its developer conference to enable a real dialogue between computer and humans. With Duplex’s pauses and natural irregularities, however, companies suddenly started to face fundamental, ethical issues and raised an array of questions: Does AI need to be recognizable as such in dialogues with humans? How best to protect yourself from scammers? Or when should AI deliberately break rules, for example, to safeguard safety in road traffic and thereby protect people? Questions to which many companies, including Google, have so far inadequate answers.
When in March 2018 Zalando publicly announced that it wanted to replace 250 specialists in marketing with AI, it sparked a discussion about the future of advertising specialists. This development may seem to suggest that AI-based automation could replace occupations across all levels of education with advancing technology. Some advertising professionals believe, however, that AI is more likely to bring new opportunities. The marketing conditions would be facilitated, and experts need to know how to use the technologies properly and draw strategic conclusions.
But what opportunities do corporations, publishers and agencies have when it comes to using AI-requiring technologies? While some publishers are already using AI technologies to tag images and analyze large amounts of relevant content, the use of AI in this industry is definitely still expandable. Technologies like Nomotekt, for instance, are already able to mimic peculiarities of lecturers. In this way, thousands of manuscripts can be read and evaluated within seconds. A look into other industries is worthwhile, too: online retailers, most notably Amazon, use AI algorithms for customized product recommendations, publishers should use appropriate analysis tools to address content in a targeted manner, since accurate content could increase the motivation to pay for online content (paywall). Well, focusing on AI over the next few years is definitely a good idea.
What about the development of AI in the next few years? Presumably, companies will push ahead with the use of AI technologies. Particularly large corporations, such as Bosch, Daimler and SAP, are currently investing more in AI to enable automated driving or to get more out of individual employees and to optimize customer experiences. The quality of the data is the basis for the use of AI and is a crucial criterion for whether AI can provide added value. It is currently also open, if and to what extent, for example, Google's AI algorithms can prevail against experienced analysts.
AI is currently under construction and will therefore be discussed controversially for a while. But it’s a fact that repetitive tasks can be performed much faster by AI, which is why it is expected that many employees will be relieved of AI and given new, more qualified tasks. And let’s not forget that AI still needs to be trained and developed by human intelligence. According to Ray Kurzweil, Google's Director of Engineering, AI will reach levels of human intelligence not until 2045. In the longer term, it can therefore be assumed that qualified tasks will continue to be performed by humans (at least until 2045).
By Daniela La Marca