Article | 24 May 2016

The rise of the robots: Are they really coming?

Posted in Industry news, Learning, Events,

This morning I attended a fascinating lecture at the Club at the Ivy about Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and the impact it will have on the digital industries.

We heard from:

• Pete Trainor, Founding Partner & Director of Human Centred Design at NexusCX

• Jonathan Seal, Director of Strategy at Mando

• Devika Thapar, Watson Solutions Leader at IBM

• Dr Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation and Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London

• Lorenzo Wood, Chief Innovation Officer at DigitalLBi

There are 3 different types of AI

The moderator, Pete Trainor, Founding Partner & Director of Human Centred Design at NexusCX kicked off by explaining that there are 3 different types of AI:

  1. NAI – Narrow Artificial Intelligence which is only capable of doing one task e.g. chess
  2. GAI – General Artificial Intelligence which is like Siri or Cortana
  3. SAI – Super Artificial Intelligence which is capable of thinking better than a human can.

Brands will need to start marketing to machines

Jonathan Seal, Director of Strategy at Mando told us that Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook are all heavily investing in AI and he thinks this will be the battle ground of the future. If you can use AI to work out the context of a person then you can give them something very relevant and lock out the competition and own that space. The rise of the robot concierge means that consumers will ask a robot to interact with a brand instead of going directly themselves which means that brands will need to start marketing to machines.

We are in the 4th Industrial revolution

Devika Thapar, Watson Solutions Leader at IBM talked about the 4th Industrial revolution with an AI-First World. Automation is not new but AI and the Internet of Things are new. She gave the example of a doctor working with a knowledge worker to recommend the best treatment for a patient. She explained that AI will also allow for personalisation and a deeper more dynamic concierge service. AI can be used to predict what users want and need. They can recommend a pair of shoes to go with that dress for example.

‘Robots are thing to which we give agency’

Lorenzo Wood, Chief Innovation Officer at DigitalLBi spoke to us about Robots. His definition of a robot is anything to which we give the capacity to act in any given environment. One of his favourite robots is a washing machine that automatically orders more washing powder from amazon when it runs low.

So what is the impact on jobs?

In the next 20 years 47% of jobs could be automated. However, there will also be new jobs such as AI trainers e.g. someone will need to teach the computers ethics and train it how to behave.

‘Machines are good at doing things that require thinking but not good at things that don’t’

Machines are good at natural language, pattern identification, locating knowledge, machine learning, eliminating bias and endless capacity but they are not so good at morals, compassion, imagination, dreaming, abstraction and generalisation. Therefore there will always be jobs for humans but they might look very different from the jobs we have today.

Using AI in HR

Someone in the audience asked what the impact on HR will be. Could robots find talent for us? Here at The Work Crowd our clever computer bots will match you to the best freelancers for your project needs. Register and try it out today!

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