The Impact of AI Over The Next Half Decade
For those who may find awkward the reference to “half a decade”and not the “next decade” here is why: AI is evolving at such a staggering rate that it is simply not possible to foresee what it will represent in 10 years’ time.
As Maurice Conti (Chief Innovation Officer at Telefónica Alpha and former director at Autodesk) reminded on his intervention at TEDX in February 2017, in human history the “Hunter-Gatherer” age lasted for several million years, then the Agricultural age lasted several thousand years, the Industrial age has been around for a couple of centuries now, the Information age has merely a few decades and the AI age (although the concept was drawn in the 1950s) has in fact effectively started less than half a decade ago.
What is AI?
It is very easy to mistake AI for RPA (Robotic Process Automation), so let’s start by defining what sets them apart.RPA results from developing detail instructions that are translated into code which a computer interprets while actuating a robot. Therefore, RPA enables the integration with Mechatronics (robotic physical machines), to partially or fully automate human activities which are manual, repetitive and rule-based.
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AI does not aim at accomplishing repetitive tasks based on a given set of rules. It aims at learning new ways of acting from either having performed or watched repetitive tasks; so, having the ability to make subjective decisions with the goals of improving the initially established process.
AI means moving away from programming and stepping into “Machine Learning”, where an AI is trained to “acknowledge” certain patterns, hence making its own decisions on how to proceed.
Nevertheless, once you enable AI to create code which will instruct RPA, then you have reached Cybernetics and created an A2IM (Autonomous Artificial Intelligence Mechatronics), such as some military drones, but we will come back to that ahead in the text.