Data is eating the world and there are numerous indicators of its ubiquitous presence in our lives and how it makes businesses and consumers both anxious and animated. Data dominates our deeds, debates, and dreams. "Covid has only accelerated the digital transformation, and automation is the cornerstone of digital transformation services"--Daniel Dines, co-founder and CEO, UiPath, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) startup whose revenues increased 81% in 2020 and its April 20, 2021, IPO, valued it at $36 billion "…the whole reason [AI] takes so long in the first place is that it's not easy"-- Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab "When the [NFT] bubble bursts, it's not going to wipe out this technology. It's just going to wipe out the junk"--Beeple (artist Mike Winkelmann whose NFT-certified digital mosaic piece sold for $69 million) "Data is now at the center of global trade… Digital technologies trafficking in data now enable, and in some cases have replaced, traditional trade in goods and services… The global economy has become a perpetual motion machine of data: it consumes it, processes it, and produces ever more quantities of it"--David H. McCormick and Matthew J. Slaughter "We've been talking about home robots coming for a long time, and all we have so far is the vacuum cleaner"--Jeff Burnstein, President, Association for Advancing Automation "As a supply-chain provider, as a logistics provider, we are very much in the data business"--Mario Harik, CIO, XPO Logistics "People are getting confused about the meaning of AI in discussions of technology trends--that there is some kind of intelligent thought in computers that is responsible for the progress and which is competing with humans. We don't have that, but people are talking as if we do"--Michael Jordan, University of California, Berkeley
Servers run inside the Facebook New Albany Data Center on Thursday, February 6, 2020 in New Albany, Ohio. Artificial intelligence (AI) is causing significant structural changes to global competition and economic growth. AI may generate trillions of dollars in new value over the next decade, but this value will not be easily captured or evenly distributed across nations. Much of it will depend on how governments invest in the underlying computational infrastructure that makes AI possible. Yet early signs point to a blind spot--a lack of understanding, measurement, and planning.
Intelligent Automation (IA) is one of the trending buzzwords of our times. Bill Gates believed automation to be a double-edged sword when he said: "Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. IA lies at the intersection of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and business process management (BPM). But before you think HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, J.A.R.V.I.S. from Iron Man or Terminator 2: Judgment Day scenarios, first, a little context. IA is not new; automated manual processes have been in existence since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.
In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, Diane Brady speaks with partners Michael Chui and Enno de Boer about the fifth generation of wireless technologies and how artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and other advanced technologies are reshaping businesses. An edited transcript of their conversation follows. Today we're talking about the fuel that is powering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is, of course, the much anticipated 5G, or fifth-generation wireless technology. What it delivers is an astonishing level of connectivity that will transform every industry. Today we're focusing on the impact it's already having on manufacturing, from the supply chain to how we run our factories, and, more importantly, that there are many times where we don't actually need 5G to get this done. Joining me today are two McKinsey leaders who spend a lot of time on the front lines of transformative technologies. Michael Chui is a San Francisco–based partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, where he leads research on the impact of technology on business and society. Enno de Boer is the global head of manufacturing out of New York, where he's worked with partners like the World Economic Forum on the future of production and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Enno de Boer: It's great to be here. Diane Brady: You are both on the front lines.
Do millennials face economic uncertainty in the future? As employment increasing become more automated, McKinsey & Company (Global management consultants) predicts that, "60% of all work activities could be automated by 2055". As far back as the 16th century, mechanisation was introduced in the form of looms, that were used to weave the material used for stockings and rugs. However, Queen Elizabeth I, was very reluctant to encourage this industry as she felt that "stocking knitters" would become redundant in this field. By the 19th century, textile workers were facing life changing inventions, as the Industrial Revolution became the catalyst to transform economies based on steam-powered machines.
Climate change is a clear and present danger to the world economy. The tech industry bears its share of responsibility, not just for carbons emission but deforestation, plastic, chemical and other waste contamination, resource depletion and other damaging activities. But the tech industry also has the capacity to dramatically change the trajectory of all these problems; to at least slow down, if not reverse, the harm being done to our one and only planet. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in particular is already having a remarkable impact on issues that seemed intractable only a few years ago. Rather than being bad for the climate, AI is proving to help.
Note: First 100 subscribers receive a free lifetime subscription. In May of 2018, a "center of excellence" for artificial intelligence opened in Medellín, Colombia. According to an article by Jared Wade, the center comes from a partnership between US-based Institute for Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence (IRPA AI) and Medellín-based startup incubator, Ruta-N. The launch was facilitated by the Agency for Cooperation and Investment in Medellín (ACI) with the goal of fostering specialized skills in the local labor force, and is part of a larger plan to promote research, development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. This is good news, but I'm biased.
In Yeshiva University's engineering-focused M.S. in Artificial Intelligence (AI), offered by the Katz School of Science and Health, students will learn the key skills most valued in today's marketplace, including machine learning and deep neural networks, along with cutting-edge technologies such as reinforcement learning, voice recognition and generation, and image recognition and generation. In the program's project-based courses, students will build systems, models and algorithms using the best available artificial intelligence design patterns and engineering principles, all done in the heart of Manhattan, a global epicenter for artificial intelligence work and research. Prof. Andrew Catlin is the program director for the AI program, with a background as a data scientist and production systems developer who has worked with such major clients as Fidelity Investments; Smart Money; Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette; Manufacturers Hanover Trust; and the National Football League. He is also a founder of multiple tech startups, including Hudson Technology and Metrics Reporting. He teaches graduate courses in recommender systems, natural language processing and neural networks, among others.
South Koreans must learn how to work alongside machines if they want to thrive in a post-pandemic world where many jobs will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots, according to the country's labor minister. "Automation and AI will change South Korea faster than other countries," Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap said in an interview Tuesday. "Not all jobs may be replaced by machines, but it's important to learn ways to work well with machines through training." While people will have to increase their adaptability to work in a fast-changing high-tech environment, policymakers will also need to play their part, Lee said. The government needs to provide support to enable workers to move from one sector of the economy to another in search of employment and find ways to increase the activity of women in the economy, he added.
THE COFFEESHOP is an engine of social mobility. Barista jobs require soft skills and little experience, making them a first port of call for young people and immigrants looking for work. So it may be worrying that robotic baristas are spreading. RC Coffee, which bills itself "Canada's first robotic café", opened in Toronto last summer. "[T]he barista-to-customer interaction is somewhat risky despite people's best efforts to maintain a safe environment," the firm says.