Artificial Intelligence: The Reality, The Future, The Pros and The Cons

It only took a few hours at Advertising Week to recognize that Artificial Intelligence is going to be one of the most talked about “buzz words” of the week. Frankly, you didn’t even need to look at the agenda to predict that. Kicking off the week, in back-to-back sessions at the Playstation Theater, experts talked about how they’re approaching AI, what the future of AI will look like, what the risks and downfalls are and why, more than ever, companies should be putting their money where the buzz is.

On a panel moderated by Business Insider’s Chief Revenue Officer, experts were asked the question that is on everyone’s mind: Will AI take away our jobs? And the response…was complicated. Jordan Bitterman, CMO of Watson answered by echoing Marc Andreessen, noting that the current AI revolution is similar to the disruption of the first automobile. Did the first car take away some jobs? Sure. Horseshoe makers likely saw a decline in customers. But did it create more jobs than anyone could have predicted? Absolutely. Jordan argued that while, yes, we may lose some jobs to artificial intelligence, we will gain far more than we could ever lose. The opportunities are endless. While panelists mostly agreed, one, did not. CEO and Founder of GumGum said that while we may see an increase of jobs in the short term, in the long run, AI will eliminate many jobs. After all, what we’re after with AI is a truly smart, learning machine.

One theme that came to light was the idea of bringing AI to consumers in a way that they can understand. Rob Wilk of Microsoft compared the way we talk about AI to yet another automobile example, noting that “if I had a problem with my car and a mechanic popped the hood and started talking specifics, I would be lost. The same holds true for marketers talking about AI.” Rob tasks his team with learning to speak in layman’s terms, bringing AI to a level that is relatable and understandable.

Though the excitement and anticipation was palpable, there are obviously some kinks that need attention. One in particular, brought to light by the moderator, was the issue of assumed knowledge. He shared the example of an ER triage center: All nurses on the floor know that someone who comes in with asthma in their chart and is being treated for pneumonia must be immediately transferred to ICU. This is a given to all nurses, on all shifts. However, this was never documented anywhere. When the ER triage center brought in AI to speed up their processes and help get patients where they need to go faster, this proved to be a gaping hole. Of course with any new technology, there will be things that need to be addressed and as AdTheorent’s Patrick Albano put it, we are a ways off from having AI ever operate without human interaction.

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