Artificial intelligence is no longer the realm of fiction—and neither are the anxieties surrounding it. The irrational doomsday fears of malevolent, human-like programs have been replaced by the concern that faceless algorithms are automating our industries and taking our jobs.
From Elon Musk to President Obama, the economic impact on our everyday lives occupies a central role in the conversation on artificial intelligence. To explore further, we took to Twitter to ask how our community members expected AI to impact their livelihoods:
How do you think artificial intelligence affects (or will affect) your business or job?
- Empower or improve it: 36%
- No impact: 31%
- Render it redundant: 33%
The responses were divided nearly equally among the three options – but those that stood out to us were the 1 out of 3 who felt AI would render their position redundant.
It’s easy to see why AI anxiety remains rife among many. Take one of our key target industries: media. From the printing press to the television and beyond, an industry once defined by technological innovation now finds itself swept up in the inexorable march of progress.
Reading about how the Associated Press is using machine learning tools to utilize automation to clamp down on inefficiency and redundancy, one reaction is often to take the glass-half-empty approach: batten down the hatches, the robots are taking over!
We argue that it’s not time to panic just yet. Our belief is simple: AI won’t take your job, it’ll help you do your job even better.
We see AI as a tool. For example, why spend countless precious man-hours scouring each frame of video footage for potentially inappropriate content when an AI algorithm can identify them for you, and leave you to make the judgement calls of whether to blur, edit or leave them in? When journalists aren’t wasting their time on these rote tasks, be it data entry or transcription, news organizations can spend their time and resources hunting down and telling the stories that aren’t already being told. By leveraging AI to its fullest extent, we as a community can empower users to maximize the intelligence and resources at their disposal that are innately human.
Humans create the content. Humans consume the content. Whether it’s by providing headline recommendations or predictive click through analysis, AI has the power to connect those two dots as efficiently and effectively as possible – and allow decision-makers to focus on higher-order decisions.
Think about this: these days, none of us sticks to just a single media silo. If you’re an avid fan of the TV show Transparent, you’ll probably appreciate a recommendation to check out Jeffery Eugenides’ novel Middlesex. Listening to a report about Zika on NPR? Read the latest New Yorker feature on the subject. By drawing from multiple modes of media, AI can analyze your habits with the same intuition a good friend might, scaled to match the enormous amount of content and data at our fingertips. AI doesn’t just pinpoint recommendations for you from this unfathomably deep sea—but personalizes them to your individual, idiosyncratic taste.
Every time a consumer follows one of those recommendations or makes a purchase, AI harnesses that data into actionable, real-time insight. If you’re an editor or producer at a media company, AI provides comprehensive insight into what to produce and which audiences it will resonate best with. Marketers can better predict behavior, reacting to real-time data on consumption patterns as it occurs and determining their optimal spend across multiple channels.
AI or not, keeping your finger on the pulse of what your customers want doesn’t just keep them happy—it happens to be good business too.
Nonetheless, the gap between how AI and its capabilities are understood and the reality persists. The quickest way to assuage anxieties and educate the public is to make AI accessible to all. You might not have the resources to hire an AI expert who will design a machine learning algorithm unique to your data system’s architecture and you certainly don’t have the time to go get a PhD in machine learning yourself. Through solutions that scale to challenges of any size and are platform agnostic, we can lower the barrier to entry and give the power of AI to enterprises large and small, academics and hobbyists.
Once we do, users will quickly understand that AI is far more than an inchoate dream of science fiction authors and futurists, but a technology on the brink of the mainstream; one with immediate, enterprise applications that empowers each and every of us to focus on what we do best, and serves as the foundation for the next generation of innovation.
Thanks to all who participated in our Twitter poll; be sure to follow us at @DMinc_AI and stay tuned for our next poll question!