It was my pleasure to attend the CTI NACVA conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and hear a wonderful key note by Tim Urban on AI and the future. I wanted to share some of what I took away from his comments that I thought you too would find of interest.
When we think as humans we tend to think linearly. On the other hand, artificial intelligence learns exponentially. The AI learning curve is doubling about every 18 months. It is important to understand the difference. When we think about compounding we typically think about compounding interest. The lesson learned here is to begin saving at a very early age for the future. The same is true about AI. AI was in the very early stages, but now is growing exponentially regarding specific tasks. Tim presented several examples of tasks and shared them with us. For example, where humans could complete a task in a matter of minutes. When AI was presented with the task the first iteration might take AI many hours. However, within a relatively short time and as short as 24 hours AI was able to complete the task much quicker than the humans. What are the implications?
AI has a very narrow focus. Look at the AI computer from IBM named Watson that beat the worlds best players on Jeopardy. It is 18 years since IBM’s Deep Blue beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov. Today’s expertise could beat that computer every time. Each of these tasks was very narrowly focused. What are some other examples? Our cars run so much better and so much more efficiently than historical automobiles. We take smart phones and airline safety for granted. We have so many areas that run more efficiently with AI (scanning bar codes, video games, smart cars, fraud detection, online customer support, security surveillance, music and movie recommendations, suggested friends on Facebook, smart home devices and more).
Currently each of these each have a very narrow focus as indicated in each particular area. By comparison at this point we as humans have a very broad focus. We can look at a comparison of photos and determine which are cats and which are dogs. AI has a very hard time with this. We can segregate photos of a Chihuahua dog face from a muffin. These were some of his examples he shared with us where currently AI currently has a very hard time. Our human wide focus offers us advantages at this time.
What about the future? According to Tim, who has networked with the best and brightest in the world on this topic we have maybe 20 to 40 years from when AI will surpass us as humans. Some think this will allow for an enlightened and great society. Others are concerned about a darker side in our future.
Currently we like to speak with our doctor regarding our ailments. However, if AI is 99.99% accurate and the best human specialist in the world is 90% to 95% accurate which would you prefer to work with given your health concern? What about ethics was a question asked from the audience. What if AI has to decide whether to protect the driverless passenger in the car versus the four pedestrians that just crossed the path of the car in a split second? Who lives and who dies or is seriously injured? Tim suggested that this is the type of question that we should be preparing for in the future. How will that determination be made if someone may be seriously hurt or die? Is all human life of similar worth? Tim suggested the keys to the future are technology, philosophy, ethics and collaboration. That is where we should be working together to address these types of issues.
What areas are most likely to be addressed first? Health and technology. What about for those that were attending the conference? What is in store for business valuers? He said folks like us will be impacted too. At first it will be to free us from the more mundane tasks that we don’t really like. We will appreciate that when we have more time for the more complex and challenging issues that we enjoy working on as business valuers. This is a relatively narrow niche, It is likely to lag behind a bit compared to other highly profitable areas. Those will be the areas for AI to address first. However, given exponential growth AI will be able to be applied to this and to virtually any field in the future.
He certainly gave all of us something to think about. In the meantime, collaboration within firms, between firms, globally and with technology is the key to profitability and survival in our ever-increasing AI world. This very high level quick summary was very enlightening to me and to our audience. I hope you enjoyed this snapshot too.
Contact me to speak to your group or consult with you. Check out my website, books and content. I am and an international speaker. I speak on how to overcome conflict with collaboration by taking advantage of the collaboration effect TM enhancing relationships, resources and revenues. My service areas are related to helping clients resolve conflict : business to IRS, business to business and within businesses. I have written 11 books including The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions. I may be contacted directly at email@example.com and at (651) 633-5311. [Michael Gregory, NSA, ASA, CVA; MBA]