Artificial Intelligence Now and Into the Future

Key takeaways

  • The “going paperless” campaign from a few years ago caused a shift in the way businesses use paper. Smart devices have further reduced our use of paper, though paper is still with us and likely will be for many years to come.
  • Now, the emerging field of artificial intelligence (AI) has people fearing that robots will take over everything, but that’s just not going to happen. But it’s important to look at where AI has the potential to eliminate jobs and what that might mean.
  • Researchers have made great strides in creating AI programs with more natural speech patterns and even digitized human faces that react emotionally to various stimuli.
  • We can basically place all the available jobs into one of four main categories: complex jobs, needing no human compassion; routine jobs, needing no human compassion; complex jobs that need human compassion; routine jobs that need human compassion.
  • AI programs could take over the jobs in the routine/no human compassion category, allowing those workers to move up to routine jobs that do require human compassion and interaction.
  • New jobs are coming up every day due to the emerging AI field, so when certain jobs get eliminated, you can be sure others will emerge that require real human interaction.

Remember going paperless? I kind of laugh at that because it seems as if we’ve got even more paper now than we did before. But I know that’s not really true because you have your smartphones and tablet devices and you don’t typically print things off of those. You’re doing more things digitally with no paper associated with them at all. But paper is still with us and probably will be around for a long time to come.

But it’s not just our continued use of paper despite all of our digital innovations that has a bad reputation. Another thing is AI, artificial intelligence. People fear it’s going to take over almost every aspect of our lives. That’s not going to happen. But we do need to see where it will displace jobs, or the people who do the jobs.

Baby X, Ava, and the future of AI

I have three areas to discuss regarding this: Baby X, Ava, and the future of AI. Let’s start with Baby X. Baby X, a virtual baby, is a project belonging to Dr. Mark Sagar, founder of Soul Machines. Dr. Sagar has trained this virtual baby, over time, to respond to certain stimuli. For example, he’s programmed Baby X’s brain to release the hormone oxytocin—the feel good hormone—in response to stimuli that would make a human baby show happiness. One of the things he does is teach her to show fear, which would reduce the presence of oxytocin. He can look at her acting happily, then show her a spider and teach her to show fear. It’s fascinating.

Researchers are making real gains in programming virtual people to show appropriate emotions and speak with it too. So, when you speak to a virtual person, it feels like a real person. Which brings me to Ava, who is employed (virtually) by Autodesk. Ava has taken over as a virtual agent, handling 70% of all tier one and tier two customer service calls. It’s very interesting. And it’s far better than some of the 800 numbers you call for customer service and end up talking to someone overseas to resolve your problem. Ava is definitely an improvement over that situation and maybe it’ll get even better going forward.

Finally, let’s discuss the future of AI. The biggest concern people have is that AI is going to eliminate thousands of jobs. I have a four quadrant graphic to show you that may help lessen your fears. Dr. Kai Fu Lee presented this to us at Abundance 360.

At the top you see human compassion and the bottom no human compassion. Then there are routine jobs to the left and more complex jobs to the right. As you look at this, you see the lower left quadrant represents routine jobs that require no human compassion—maybe a factory worker or court recorder. Then on the lower right quadrant, you have more complex jobs, but that also don’t require human compassion, perhaps an actuary or a scientist.

As you move up to the upper left quadrant, you have routine jobs that require human compassion. Examples are caregivers or counselors. Finally, in the upper right quadrant, you see more complex jobs that also require human compassion, such as a coach or CEO.

If you think of the jobs on the lower left side getting eliminated by an AI program, these are the routine jobs that require no human compassion to perform. It allows those workers to move up to the jobs that have more human compassion involved. By taking over these in the lower left quadrant, people can seek more fulfilling work.

Additionally, a new job has just opened up due to the emerging AI industry. The person filling this position would work as a conversational scripter. It’s a new position that came about because someone has to teach programs like Ava and Baby X how to speak, so that it sounds natural. There are countless other jobs that are arising out of this new AI industry. It will be interesting to watch how all of this goes. Like everything else we’ve dealt with over the years, such as the dotcoms in the ‘90s and a lot of others, we thought we were going to eliminate jobs, but other new jobs opened up. The future is going to be interesting. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country.  He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

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