From virtual assistants to driverless cars, technology imitating human intelligence is on the rise. But at what ethical cost and how do boards future-proof their organisations in the face of rapid change? Earlier this year, a Japanese insurance company made headlines for doing something that company executives and directors around the world have been anticipating - and fearing - for years. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance made 34 of its staff redundant and replaced them with artificial intelligence (AI) system IBM Watson. Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reported the company will be using Watson to determine payout amounts and check customer cases against their insurance contracts. Evidently, the future of AI is already here and technology has been changing the world at a dramatic pace.
"Please think forward to the year 2030. Analysts expect that people will become even more dependent on networked artificial intelligence (AI) in complex digital systems. Some say we will continue on the historic arc of augmenting our lives with mostly positive results as we widely implement these networked tools. Some say our increasing dependence on these AI and related systems is likely to lead to widespread difficulties. Our question: By 2030, do you think it is most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will enhance human capacities and empower them? That is, most of the time, will most people be better off than they are today? Or is it most likely that advancing AI and related technology systems will lessen human autonomy and agency to such an extent that most people will not be better off than the way things are today? Please explain why you chose the answer you did and sketch out a vision of how the human-machine/AI collaboration will function in 2030.
The SA Innovation Summit as an annual flagship event on the South African Innovation Calendar, is a platform for nurturing, developing and showcasing African innovation, as well as facilitating innovation thought-leadership. Created to support and promote innovation and facilitate collaboration within its own eco-system, the initiative brings together corporates, thought leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs, academia and policy makers to amplify South Africa's renowned competitive edge and to inspire sustained economic growth across the continent of Africa. The outcomes achieved by the Summit, is a powerful platform to bring together thought leaders and accelerate innovation in South Africa, and into the African continent as whole. MIIA ill also be represented at the South African Innovation Summit and invitethe MIIA community to also join the 48-hour hackathon being held in Cape Town Stadium from 5 - 7 September 2017.
This year has seen some notable advancements in computer-based brain mimicry, not just on the artificial intelligence (AI) front, but also related to in silico brain simulations. Watson's vanquishing of Jeopardy champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings in February set the stage for the year. The now world-famous IBM super exhibited a sophisticated understanding of language semantics along with the ability to integrate that understanding into a complex analytics engine. Since the Jeopardy match, IBM has been looking to take the technology into the commercial realm, most notably in the health care arena. Meanwhile projects like FACETS (Fast Analog Computing with Emergent Transient States) and SpiNNaker are working to uncover the nature of the brain at the level of the neuron.