2023 has been the year of artificial intelligence (AI) thanks to the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, acquisition by Microsoft, integration with Bing and mad scrabble by Google, Baidu and more to keep up. This will continue in 2024 and, if anything, become even more of a war between big tech firms and their delivery of augmented customer experiences.
Originally, the view was that AI would purely augment mechanical and administrative operations. Those that involve number-crunching. What has been surprising is how it is not just number-crunching as AI extends into art, music, poetry and story-telling. The next years will see a huge swathe of humanity wondering why we exist for these reasons, as if machines can do all of the things humans do, what are we here for?
It will be the reason why governments will begin to rapidly crackdown on AI’s capabilities. In fact, the most important battle will not be between human and machine, but machine and machine. The government machine versus the criminal’s machine. There are huge opportunities for machines to learn how to hack, crack and break systems, which means that the defenders of data will need to have machines better than those developed by the dark web forces.
The other big trend, which relates to AI, is the integration of emotional intelligence (AI) with customer experience. AI is artificial; EI is human. We can see these emerging trends already, such as the new markets of ‘grief tech’ where your dead friends and relatives can be kept in life as a hologram with their voice.
Does this sound scary or great? The answer is that, like any new technology, it is both. Every major new technology is a double-edged sword with a dark and a light side. The dark side is how progress of technological innovation scares us; the light side is how it removes mundanity and frees us to be whoever we want to be.
This is why many of us have more concern about the educational system than the innovative new technologies coming downstream. The schooling system in most countries is highly geared towards getting children schooled in the basics of knowing math, language, science, engineering and such like. This is performed in an almost industrial manner but we should be asking: why are we teaching children the things that machines can learn? Why aren’t we teaching them the things that machines cannot learn?
When you put it into this context, the answer is that a machine is not a human. It’s just tin and metal, and it’s only as good as the input it is given from us. It has no heartbeat, and the EI of the machine cannot replace the EI of the human. This means that we should not be afraid of the rapid technological progress of AI, but embrace it and see where we can augment the machine as well as vice versa.
Want a good example? My best one is a hostile takeover of a company. There are huge emotions involved in such a move, and the handling of such is critical to a successful or failed merger. You only to read the classic book Barbarians at the Gate by journalists Bryan Burrough and John Helyar to get an idea of what I mean here.
Machines will never replace humans therefore; they will augment them and, in 2024, it will be interesting to see how quickly the seeds of the AI revolution started in 2023 will continue going forward.