Member perspective: the future of artificial intelligence

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May 16, 2017
Three Tech Titans projected last week about what artificial intelligence (AI) could mean to society within the near future.
“When you think about AI, the next 10 years will be transformative,” said Dave Copps, president of recently acquired BrainSpace and Tech Titans award winner. “Decisions or transactions that are now made in less than two seconds will be replaced by AI.”
What is making this possible? For one, storage is basically free or certainly inexpensive, with online and cloud options. Another enabler: “AI can now learn by example and observation,” Copps said. “Accuracy is going through the roof.”
Hybrid learning environments – bio and AI – tantalize with the possibilities of a new world order. People will continue to use the tools of technology in innovative ways; they learn from technology while AI  learns from watching people. In the near term, this means augmented intelligence.
One development that’s here now is meaningful user experience. Copps cited Google’s Alexa as an example. Even in less developed countries where people have little or no experience with computers, someone can voice a request to a computer, “Play music from my favorite musician,” and have a successful interaction.
Robert Kantner, a partner at Jones Day and thought leader in the areas of legal cybersecurity and big data, talked about a coming trend in the legal field: thousands of decisions by a particular judge are analyzed by AI, with a recommendation about how the judge would rule on a particular case. Traditionally these decisions these been read and reviewed by lawyers; AI will become a competitive threat in the legal profession, Kantner said.
In criminal cases AI can also be used to analyze a great deal of data to predict t the probabilities of the accused reoffending or becoming a threat to society. This predictive AI can, and has been, used in sentencing decisions.
Kantner also nodded toward the pharmaceutical field, where AI can recommend a treatment, although he says we’re still far from the public being comfortable of moving forward without a sign off by a human doctor.
Robotics will continue to grow, notably in industrial and manufacturing areas. Of note are Japan and, quickly coming, China. Both countries have aging populations and not enough younger people to care for them. Currently, the U.S. is #1 in AI development, but, for the same demographic reasons, China is quickly gaining ground.
As far as intellectual property, software patents and copyrights are particularly difficult for open sourcing software. Data privacy is also difficult in dealings between companies, a specialty of Kantner’s.
Society and legal requirements in the US are different than in Europe, which creates data privacy issues when companies transmit customer information between countries.
What does it mean for society as a whole? “We’re not prepared for the speed of acceleration,” Copps said.
In the area of employment, Kantner said the challenge is to move people from jobs of the past to new jobs and training young people for emerging positions, such as managing the automation of industrial robots. Autonomous vehicles were specifically mentioned for regulatory concerns and also as an area where jobs, for example truck drivers, would be redirected.
Amy Alexander, Director, Marketing and Communications
(972) 792-2862