Each week on a Wednesday Nikolas Badminton, Futurist highlights the top stories from the past week relating to the incredible rise of artificial intelligence and its application in society, the workplace, in cities, and in our lives.
In Artificial Intelligence Bulletin – Why You Need a Chief AI Officer (CAIO) we see Andrew Ng from baidu discussing the need for a CAIO, robot adoption rising, why we must be aware of politicians’ motives, AI replacing workers (a long-held view here), and why Canada needs to step up.
Yes, Your Company Needs a Chief AI Officer. Here’s Why.
“You need a chief AI officer,” Ng told Fortune assistant managing editor Adam Lashinsky. “If you have a lot of data and you want to create value from that data one of the things you might consider is building up an AI team.”
In the old days—say, the age where electricity was the buzzy technology du jour—you’d probably do the same thing. Appointing an executive to deal with what was once a complicated, little-understood technology—a chief electricity officer—would have been a reasonable decision for a CEO to make at the time. Today it’s almost inconceivable.
Artificial intelligence requires a similar approach in the 21st century, Ng said.
“Seek people who can work cross-functionally and have skills to take shiny [new] tech and contextualize it for your business,” Ng urged the executives in the room. “You can’t just download it and bolt it on to an organization.” For this reason, “there’s a talent war for AI.”
Read more at FORTUNE
The Robot Rampage
Donald Trump tends to present the labor market as a zero-sum game: companies have shifted production to China and other emerging markets. He’s going to bring those jobs home.
Put aside for a moment how moving jobs back to a country with high costs gives companies an incentive to automate. There’s a bigger problem: After displacing U.S. manufacturing workers, robots are poised to do the same in developing economies, too. It will be hard to re-shore jobs that no longer exist.
It took 50 years for the world to install the first million industrial robots. The next million will take only eight, according to Macquarie. Importantly, much of the recent growth happened outside the U.S., in particular in China, which has an aging population and where wages have risen.
Read more at Bloomberg
A CES Takeaway: Don’t Fear Robots And Artificial Intelligence–Fear Politicians
Electric power is just a century old, yet many have no idea how to survive without it. Smartphones are just a few years old, yet the same is true. I expect our descendants will be equally devoted to their beloved AI.
The government lacks the kinds of statistics that show that the individual of modest income today is a millionaire when he or she goes back to 1979 (See Andy Kessler’s “Congrats, You’re a Billionaire”). In an AI-saturated world, Ready Player One-style virtual reality immersion might be how some burn up their days. That will be OK with some, not all. The main thing is that a world with ability to produce and replicate physical goods and afford three squares so cheaply would be one prepared to move on to the next stages of exploration into the oceans and poles, creating settlements on the moon, mining asteroids, interplanetary travel (not interstellar, though).
Or, perhaps even better, building the machines and AI to do all that. But who will bother, if they’re collecting a government check while plugged into VR.
The big-government, universal basic income response to AI is at odds with the tech sector’s fundamental optimism. Beware!
Read more at Forbes
Japanese company replaces office workers with artificial intelligence
A future in which human workers are replaced by machines is about to become a reality at an insurance firm in Japan, where more than 30 employees are being laid off and replaced with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders.
Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance believes it will increase productivity by 30% and see a return on its investment in less than two years. The firm said it would save about 140m yen (£1m) a year after the 200m yen (£1.4m) AI system is installed this month. Maintaining it will cost about 15m yen (£100k) a year.
The move is unlikely to be welcomed, however, by 34 employees who will be made redundant by the end of March.
Read more at The Guardian
Artificial intelligence is the future, and Canada can seize it
Deep Learning is a type of machine learning that makes use of layers of artificial neurons to mimic the way our brains work. Like our brains, machines learn by processing huge volumes of sensory and other data and deciding which information is relevant for a particular outcome. The recent advances in AI are the result of improvements in computing power and ever-growing datasets. Large U.S. and other foreign companies have enormous troves of data, and open it to their AI teams to use for research.
To date, there are not enough graduates to entice those companies to add research labs in Toronto. Key companies say that if we graduated more data scientists trained in machine learning, they would open labs here.
Some large companies have recently moved their AI divisions to Toronto, including Thomson Reuters and General Motors, with the intention of hiring hundreds of data scientists. Many of Canada’s largest companies have also stated a desire to hire thousands more data scientists in the coming years. Demand for talent already far outstrips supply, and the gap will only grow.
There is one solution that will help keep the best minds in Canada, solve the current and future talent gap for domestic businesses, lure investment from foreign data-rich companies, and ensure Canada leads future AI breakthroughs: We must build a world-leading AI Institute in Toronto. We are leading an effort to make this happen.
The goals of the institute are to: 1) be a world-leading centre for AI research; 2) graduate the most machine-learning PhDs and masters students globally; and 3) become the engine for an AI supercluster that drives the economy of Toronto, Ontario and Canada. The institute would be independent and affiliated with the University of Toronto but open to researchers from other schools. Collaboration agreements with other universities would strengthen AI capability throughout Canada.
Read more at the Globe & Mail