The Robots Are Taking Over . . . Eventually
Artificial Intelligence is officially the new darling of tech – replacing VR/AR which was all the rage just a few years ago. There are many forms of AI, so for the sake of this post let’s define it as platforms which have machine learning functionality in their “brains”.
We’ve all been exposed to early versions of AI. When you get stuck in one of those endless online “chat now” loops you’re probably communicating with an AI-enabled chatbot who’s trying to figure out what you need without connecting you to a human. Or for a creepier version, how about getting a travel ad the next time you go online, after you were talking with your family about taking a trip in the presence the smartspeaker in your home. These devices can interpret what we’re saying and behaviorally retarget you off platform – yikes!
Despite all these advances AI applications are still relatively nascent in our day to day lives. This point was reinforced last week at a Digiday marketing conference. At the summit attendees were polled for their predictions on upcoming AI applications for the real world. The overwhelming consensus is that AI will impact our daily lives, but not just yet. Service industry jobs, like customer service call centers and register staffers in retail, will be the first affected, but AI mainstreaming in this sector is still 5-10 years off. Machine operators and drivers could also be replaced by AI-equipped robots over the next decade. And then there’s the selling function itself. Think about all those sales jobs which could be put out to pasture once robots can convince us to buy with the emotional nuance of today’s human sellers. Rest easy salespeople of the world – that’s probably more than a decade away.
In the months after President Trump was elected there was considerable focus on the number of American jobs being lost to illegal immigrants. Despite all the political hype reality is that four out of every five jobs lost in the US today is due to automation and not immigration, and most of those job-stealing machines aren’t even AI enabled. Once the machines have the ability to learn it will just be a matter of time before the robots take over. Thankfully we humans still have a decade or so left before that happens. 🙂