There is a huge amount of fear of artificial intelligence and big data. What are we all going to do? The New Yorker put fear on its cover. Have we gone too far in our fear?
Probably. It doesn’t mean society doesn’t need to be proactive in dealing with the aftershocks of new technology but we are probably hand-wringing a bit too much.
In September, I was an advisor to the G7 on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and The Future of Work. We talked about a lot of subjects. One of the more interesting things that happened was when our group came up with a statement that was given to the bureaucrats of the G7 countries to digest and turn into policy. Unbeknownst to the participants, Diego Piacentini and his compatriots were loading millions of bytes of information into a supercomputer that used artificial intelligence to build a statement prior to our meeting. The computer’s statement was very similar to the one we released.
Does it mean we shouldn’t have met?
It’s a question worth considering. But, the truth is humans need to meet. They need connection. There were some things in our statement that were not in the AI statement. That’s because of the spontaneous combustion and innovation that can happen when humans are in a room together riffing on an idea.
There are going to be lots of jobs that are disrupted by robots, AI and big data. We are going to need fewer humans to accomplish the same tasks. However, it’s going to free humans up to be creative in ways they never thought of before which will create new opportunities.
A portfolio company of WLV is Megalytics. They harness big data and use algorithms to crunch the numbers to make capital a lot more efficient in the commercial real estate industry. Agents that use Megalytics find that they are able to allocate their time better. Instead of focusing on drudgery and paperwork, they can be out selling and earning money and servicing clients. They also are finding fewer deals are falling through. Instead of just using their gut, Megalytics is validating their gut.
Another angel investment I made was a company called Truss. They use all kinds of technology from algorithms to AI and big data to make leasing small spaces automatic. It makes a CRE agent’s life easier because they can spend their valuable time on big projects.
Around the same time I angel invested in Truss, I also angel invested in Catalytic. Catalytic uses a bot to streamline processes inside companies. It allows employees to implement artificial intelligence into their processes freeing them up to service customers better.
What we are seeing so far is many occupations are seeing decision making and processes made more precise rather than a total disintermediation. We aren’t getting rid of radiologists because AI can read x-rays faster and better. We still need humans to interpret and create and decide on the best course of action.
The key is preparing ourselves for the coming wave of high powered technology that is hitting the beach. Currently, we aren’t prepared and that is where the fear comes from.