While you’re here, enjoy our podcast episode on AI.
The coming five years will see a sweeping shift in how businesses prioritize and process activities and tasks. Current technologies and ways of doing things will become obsolete. Ways of accessing information will change too as more businesses embrace assistants powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Marketing automation will come to the fore, and businesses will worry less about errors as AI-powered technology takes on more of the work around calculations.
We explore some of the dramatic changes businesses can anticipate with Artur Kiulian, an expert in artificial intelligence. Artur also talks about the need to redefine education around technology, because communicating with AI devices will increase in importance, while understanding how things work won’t be as high on the priority list.
Artificial intelligence benefits to business
It’s clear that AI will fundamentally transform business. For example, an AI technology like ScenGen will be able to help businesses predict and make better decisions. ScenGen works by generating every single possible scenario for a given situation at a very high speed. ScenGen’s Walter O’Brien said: “ScenGen’s AI generates 250 years of human thinking every 90 minutes, so you can be certain that you have considered all possible scenarios for a given situation.” This sounds amazing, and the benefits must be phenomenal. Can you elaborate on how you see AI changing small to medium-sized businesses in the coming 18 to 24 months? What practical benefits can business owners anticipate?
More and more companies are already benefiting from AI and machine learning without knowing it. And I think that’s the right approach, since you don’t have to worry about complex technologies and how they work – you should just get the value from it. Though realizing why some solutions are better is super important, especially in 2017 when everything comes with AI inside.
I can definitely say that small to medium-sized businesses will adopt automation software to simplify the workflow.
We are already seeing lots of companies using all sorts of apps to make their routines less painful. And most disruptive will be the mainstream application of marketing automation.
There will be things like automatically generated content, automated content distribution using machine learning, customer service bots powered by AI and lots of other small parts of the big picture that already started to transform the workplace.
How will machine learning affect our working lives in the next few years, particularly those of entrepreneurs or small businesses?
We should be ready to change the perspective of what’s important in business. There are just too many things that will become obsolete.
For example, it’s no longer mandatory to remember everything since you can always find the right information in a matter of seconds with having smart AI-powered assistants. And you won’t have to worry about tons of human related errors or miscalculations because most of data/human interaction will be going through machines.
The next few years will redefine the technological education, in the sense that you won’t need to understand how things are working inside to work with them, but you will have to know how to properly communicate with smart systems and what they are capable for.
Think of Siri; if you give Siri to a person from 2008 it will be quite a painful experience – simply because that person won’t be used to this type of machine-human communication. The same thing will happen with us learning how to talk to bots, how to work with systems entirely based on AI and other sorts of smart machines.
Uncertainty about AI
Artificial Intelligence is now a part of daily life, with people using virtual personal assistants and and AI-powered apps. Businesses use purchase prediction and fraud detection. But actual attitudes towards AI are quite mixed. A U.K. study last year revealed that people begin to feel increasingly negative when AI gets closer to home. We’re not so happy about the idea of intelligent machines carrying out household chores, taking our jobs or performing tasks in hospitals. How do you respond to people’s fear and uncertainty?
It’s a natural reaction when people are scared of the things that are capable of more than them, especially when these approach your household. I must say that there are definitely lots of potential “negative” scenarios that we should pay attention to, besides saving humanity from dangerous artificial intelligence.
However, this shouldn’t stop humanity getting benefits of artificial intelligence right now. I believe that the greatest threat comes from humanity itself, since we are the ones that can potentially misuse superior technology against ourselves. We are not going to see any negative impact if we are able to define the right people in charge of technological progress.
Where will AI be in five to ten years?
If I would be asked for the most extreme scenario in 10 years it would be the full automation of service industry, as it is the easiest one to take over. No more restaurant workers or hotel concierge, no more taxi drivers and no bank tellers. Though this, of course, applies to the countries with the highest technology penetration and it’s not like we are going to see all of this in rural Africa or Asia.
Neurologists and scientists are still discovering so much about the brain. Given what we know about the human mind, do you think humans will ever be able to create artificial consciousness?
It’s interesting that most of the technological advances in AI come from simulating how our brains work. For example the deep learning technique is based on the architecture of how our neurons stack in multiple layers within the brain. Though we are able to simulate the structure of the “brain” we are too far from understanding how it actually works, and even further from cracking the code of consciousness.
The problem is that we are just playing with a black box, in the same way as Google engineers can’t tell why their algorithm works in a certain way. I believe the artificial consciousness will be nothing like ours, a highly intelligent self-aware machine without any evolution-related side-effects such as cognitive biases or optical illusions.
A world like Westworld?
One of the reasons why I love this show is because it expands our vision of what artificial intelligence can do and how it can impact our lives. Even though the entertainment aspect of the show is full of Hollywood-style exaggeration, it’s a great showcase of how disruptive the usage of AI can become.
We are definitely far from the technology featured in the show but we are already seeing most of the fundamentals that will drive this type of tech in the nearest five to ten years, such as natural language processing, deep learning, computer vision.
Who have been the biggest influences on you, your thinking and your approach to your work?
As with most tech people, I love reading educational books and these that have influenced me the most are: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, and On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins.
Artificial intelligence expert Artur Kiulian
Artur Kiulian is an entrepreneur, speaker and growth hacker. He had a major success in 2015 with the development of Capitan, a shopping list app powered by AI. Capitan reminds you to buy the things you forget.
Currently he is a partner at Colab, an innovative venture studio in Los Angeles that partners with and grows a select portfolio of strategic companies.
At 25, he’s a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Artur has a BA in Computer Science and a Master’s in Artificial Intelligence systems, both from Vinnytsia National Technical University, Ukraine.
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