top of page

Artificial Intelligence

Work in the age of intelligent machines

June 27, 2018

Martin Wolf of the Financial Times writes:

  • So what might a world of intelligent machines mean for humanity? Will human beings become as economically irrelevant as horses? If so, what will happen to our individual self-worth and the organisation of our societies? In a remarkable recent lecture, Adair Turner, former chairman of the UK’s financial regulator and chairman of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, addresses just these questions. He started from the assumption that intelligent machines will ultimately be able to perform most forms of current work better than people and at lower cost. This, he argues, is a question of when, not if. It will happen because of the progressive advance of processing power, the costless replicability of software and the rise of machine learning. Robot gods will make us all redundant.

  • Drawing on A Future that Works, a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute last year, Lord Turner adds that this future will not come evenly: some will be more affected far sooner than others. Moreover, even if intelligent machines cannot do every aspect of any given job, they can displace a great many workers.

  • According to a paper by Jason Furman, former chairman of the US Council of Economic Advisers, and Robert Seamans of the Stern School of Business, those who earn less and those with less education are more vulnerable.

  • Lord Turner also suggests other reasons for rising inequality and low average productivity growth.  The first is the growth of “zero (or near zero)-sum” activities, some of which are not measured in economic output and few of which contribute to social wellbeing: think lobbyists, flash-traders or tax lawyers. Even education has a strongly zero-sum character: it is a positional good. Moreover, such zero-sum activities are well paid and so extract a great deal of rent. Successful creators of digital near monopolies also enjoy a great deal of rent. So, not least, do owners of property in prosperous conurbations. The new economy then is the rentier’s paradise.

  • In the medium term, so long as there is a reasonable prospect of jobs for people who want to work, the crucial policy will be subsidising jobs. It is also vital to fund high-quality public services for all, notably, health, education and transportation. Moreover, as Dean Baker argues, the concentration of incomes from scarcity rents cries out for higher taxation of wealth and top incomes, notably including land and intellectual property. Indeed, intellectual property is almost certainly too highly protected now.

  • In the longer term, our descendants may face even more existential decisions (provided the machines allow them to make them). How might they organise society in a world in which few people can do anything that is obviously economically productive? The world might become techno-feudal, with an owning elite hiring great numbers of cheap human servants not for their value, but for the pleasure of domination. People might instead share the abundance more equally, with all enjoying the civilised leisure that was once the province of the very few.

Humanity is unprepared for the rise in AI - Henry Kissinger

June 09, 2018

This is a very useful article by Henry Kissinger (former Secretary of State for President Nixon):

  • How the Enlightenment Ends

  • "Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence."

AI in warehouse logistics by Amazon

July 31, 2017

Amazon's massive warehouses are run almost entirely by robot and AI. Video link below.

What is the technology behind the Amazon robot warehouse? The technology explained here ...

Amazon now has 45,000 robots across its warehouses.

AI - The tech trend that changes everything

July 30, 2017

At Livewire Live 2017, Daniel Petre of Airtree Ventures highlighted Artifical Intelligence and machine learning as THE big trend to watch: “It will dramatically change every job, every company, every industry, and every society… If you are a company, and you do not have access to sufficient datasets and algorithms… you are screwed.”

PwC - China to be the biggest winner from AI by 2030

June 25, 2017

Consultancy firm PwC ran the numbers, and came up with a relatively rosy scenario with regards to the impact AI will have on the global economy. By 2030, global GDP could increase by 14%, or $15.7 trillion, because of AI, the firm said in a report today (pdf).

Almost half of these economic gains will accrue to China, where AI is projected to give the economy a 26% boost over the next 13 years—the equivalent of an extra $7 trillion in GDP. North America can expect a 14.5% increase in GDP, worth $3.7 trillion.

AI and robots likely to make large portion of population unemployed

March 05, 2017

The intro paragraph of this article says it all.

  • Historian Yuval Noah Harari makes a bracing prediction: just as mass industrialization created the working class, the AI revolution will create a new unworking class.

  • The most important question in 21st-century economics may well be: What should we do with all the superfluous people, once we have highly intelligent non-conscious algorithms that can do almost everything better than humans?

Domino Pizza's new weapon in pizza wars: Artificial intelligence

March 01, 2017

When the business business seeks to gain competitive advantage from using Aritificial Intelligence (AI), you must start to realise how pervasive AI is starting to become among industry sector leaders. Here are some exerpts:

On Wednesday, amid neon lights and smoke machines (but no mirrors) Mr Meij, a former pizza delivery driver who is estimated to be worth at least $130 million, unveiled Domino's latest high-tech weapons.

After unveiling a stream of disruptive digital initiatives over the past six years – including mobile phone apps, GPS driver tracking, SMS ordering, electronic bikes, robotic pizza delivery vehicles and drones – Domino's is now harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to encourage Australian and New Zealand consumers to eat more pizza.

Over the next week Domino's will add new features and devices to its DRU (Domino's Robotic Unit) platform, starting with a beta version of DRU Assist, a virtual, voice-activated digital assistant which takes customers' orders on mobile phones, desktops and laptops.  DRU Assist will be followed by DRU Manager, which helps Domino's store owners automate rosters and order stock based on forecast demand.

The business case for Artificial Intelligence

February 26, 2017

The Economist magazine has looked at how businesses are viewing AI. Here is their executive summary.

Artificial intelligence in the real world: The business case takes shape.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the future. For businesses, it is the here and now, and this study conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit makes clear that executive suites and boardrooms around

the world see it as such. They might be expected to be wary, given that much is unknown, even amongst

scientists, about how AI capabilities might develop in the coming years. Or that policymakers and regulators

have barely begun to study its potential implications for markets and workforces.


Many business leaders certainly expect AI to be disruptive. More than 40% of those surveyed for the study anticipate that AI will start displacing humans from some jobs in their industry within the next five years. Slightly more think their own role will be changed by AI in the same time frame. But they see this more as augmentation than marginalisation. An overwhelming majority believe AI will make their job easier and help improve their own performance. They clearly believe it will do the same for the businesses they manage.


The purpose of this study has been to gauge corporate attitudes toward AI in different regions and different

industries. Based on a global survey of 203 senior executives, it finds that, especially in North America, companies in health and life sciences, in retail, in manufacturing and in financial services are actively testing the waters. Amongst this group, AI technologies and applications are in the exploratory phase at around one-third of companies, but another third have moved on to experimentation, and one- tenth have begun to utilise AI in limited areas. A small handful (2.5%) have even deployed it widely.

AI detection of skin cancer

January 30, 2017

27/January/2017 "Soon, artificial intelligence could check your skin for cancer"

Artificial intelligence that diagnoses skin cancer as well as a dermatologist could one day rest in the palm of your hand.

A team from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory set up a machine-learning AI to teach itself to diagnose cancer by looking at skin lesions just as a doctor would during an exam.

The team tested the algorithm against 21 board-certified dermatologists, and it performed just as well as its human counterparts.

The researchers envision making the algorithm compatible with smartphones, putting skin cancer diagnosis into the hands of just about anyone anywhere.

BCG - The Age of AI is here

January 22, 2017

Excerpt from this article.

"AI is swiftly becoming the foundational technology in areas as diverse as self-driving cars and financial trading. Self- learning algorithms are now routinely embedded in mobile and online services. Researchers have leveraged massive gains in processing power and the data streaming from digital devices and connected sensors to improve AI performance. And machines have essentially cracked speech and vision specifically and human communication generally. The implications are profound:

  • Because they know how to speak, read text, and absorb and retain encyclopedic knowledge, machines can interact with people intuitively and naturally on a wide range of topics at considerable depth.

  • Because they can identify objects and recognize optical patterns, machines can leave the virtual and join the real world."

10 Powerful Examples Of Artificial Intelligence In Use Today

January 16, 2017

Beyond our quantum-computing conundrum, today's so-called A.I. systems are merely advanced machine learning software with extensive behavioral algorithms that adapt themselves to our likes and dislikes. While extremely useful, these machines aren't getting smarter in the existential sense, but they are improving their skills and usefulness based on a large dataset. These are some of the most popular examples of artificial intelligence that's being used today.

#1 -- Siri from Apple

#2 -- Alexa from Amazon

#3 -- Tesla - intelligent cars

#4 -- Cogito - improve the emotional intelligence of customer support

#5 -- Boxever - improve the customer's experience in the travel industry

#6 -- John Paul - a highly-esteemed luxury travel concierge company

#7 -- - predicting just what we're interested in purchasing

#8 -- Neflix - provides highly accurate predictive technology based on customer's reactions to films

#9 -- Pandora -has an incredible track record for recommending songs that people inherently love

#10 -- Nest - learning thermostat, which uses behavioral algorithms to predictively learn from your heating and cooling needs

The Technological Arms Race

January 12, 2017

Here are some key quotes from this article:

  • Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is a computer system that is as smart as a human across any intellectual task (including complex reasoning, thinking abstractly, and learning from experiences). It is said that an AGI will be unpredictably creative. This will require a computer to have the mental capacity to solve problems, think creatively, understand language, interpret images, think abstractly, learn quickly, and learn from experience. While it is likely to take many years to develop a computer system that has AGI, it would appear that the building blocks for AGI are being rapidly developed, with material advances in machine learning, voice and image recognition, computational power, and the development of advanced neural networks.

  • We believe there is evidence that technology may be nearing a tipping point – technology is now advancing at such a rate that a breakthrough in AGI may be rapidly approaching.

  • Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, said in an interview at the 2016 Code Conference: “I think it’s gigantic. I do. I think natural language understanding, I think machine learning in general, artificial intelligence…it’s probably hard to overstate how big of an impact it is going to have on society over the next 20 years. It is big.”

  • Zuckerberg continues, describing how artificial intelligence can improve the experience of Facebook users: “That’s because today our systems can’t actually understand what the content means. We don’t actually look at the photo and deeply understand what’s in it or look at the videos and understand what’s in it, or read the links that people share and understand what’s in them. But in the future, we’ll be able to, I think on a five or 10-year period.”               

Forbes - 2017 Will Be the Year of AI 30/Dec/16

January 02, 2017

Two thousand seventeen will be the year of artificial intelligence.

It is when every industry will ask how the latest old trend in computing threatens to upend the existing order as they know it. If you haven’t read it, yet, I highly recommend this long feature published a couple of weeks ago in The New York Times Magazine about Google’s AI efforts.

US Senate inquiry - The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence

January 02, 2017

30/Nov/16 When the US Senate holds an inquiry into "The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence", you this is a sign that AI's time has come.

Google - how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself. 14/Dec/16

January 02, 2017

The Great A.I. Awakening

How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.

Googles AI tool-kit shared - Tensorflow

January 02, 2017

Some references:

Microsoft also sharing their AI toolkit

January 02, 2017

Microsoft is also sharing their AI toolkit. What Microsoft says about it is this: "A free, easy-to-use, open-source, commercial-grade toolkit that trains deep learning algorithms to learn like the human brain."

Forbes The Future of AI - job losses

January 02, 2017

Forbes Magazine 15/June/2016 "This Is The Future Of Artificial Intelligence"

  • "It’s widely known by now that the U.S. and global economy are being profoundly re-shaped by software technology. Human jobs are being eaten by software, specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms"

The article referenced above in the second part of 2. The first part is titled "What it Takes To Get Workers to be Their Most Creative" 12/May/2016 here ... and among other things, it talks about the time when most of our society do not work.

'Perhaps, Reich continued, people “want to write music, or maybe they want to invent, or maybe they want to do something that is very deeply inspiring to them,” like volunteering. But they can’t, he noted, because they’re totally dependent on pay from their employer.

As articulated by a striking array of voices in Zurich—including those from the Roosevelt Institute on the left and the Cato Institute on the right—the most effective approach for people (for governments to pursue) to have more choice is through a mechanism that I’ve written about before ( a universal basic income.'

Please reload

bottom of page