If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Technology has been blamed for a lot recently. Automation and artificial intelligence have supposedly led to substantial job losses, reduced bargaining power for workers and increased discrimination. It is even blamed for growing income and wealth inequality and, as a result, the presidency of Donald Trump, Brexit, the rise of far-right populism in Europe and the spectre of climate change. In response, calls are being made for global oversight and regulation of technology and there are attempts to slow down its spread through protectionist trade policies and political lobbying. But perhaps we should be careful about so readily blaming technological innovation for these social problems.
By 2021, digital transformation will add an estimated USD 154 billion to India's GDP, and increase the growth rate by 1 percent annually, according to an IDC study commissioned by Microsoft. The study also predicts that approximately 60 percent of India's GDP will be derived from digital products or services by 2021. With the government's vision of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog believes technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will propel India to achieve that target and even go beyond. "Our ambition should not just be to become a USD 5 trillion economy. Instead, we should aim to become a USD 10 trillion economy in the long run, growing at 9-10 percent year after year for three decades or more, to be able to lift our young population above the poverty line. All of this is not possible without using a large amount of data, AI and Machine Learning (ML) and bringing disruption in a vast range of areas," Kant said during a fireside chat with Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India at the Digital Governance Tech Summit 2019 in New Delhi.
As the AI technology marches ahead with significant innovations and transformation, people do raise concern what its future beholds. The futuristic implications of AI swings between two aspects – first the anticipated positive impact of AI on economies and societies and the second negative impact of its potential over humankind. Specifically, the governments in Asia and the civil society residing in the region are concerned about structuring regulatory frameworks to guard against the possible threats. However, business leaders in Asia are quite optimistic about AI's positive impact on businesses, societies, and the welfare of humanity. Some do believe that AI will be the major growth driver for the region in the coming years.
The pace of technological change is rendering many job activities -- and the skills they require -- obsolete. Research by McKinsey suggests that globally more than 50% of the workforce is at risk of losing their jobs to automation, and a survey by the World Economic Forum suggests that 42% of the core job skills required today will change substantially by 2022. In this landscape of constant disruption, individuals, companies, and governments are fighting to ensure they have the skills to remain competitive. To shed light on the global skills landscape, Coursera recently released the first edition of our Global Skills Index (GSI) report. As the world's largest platform for higher education, Coursera brings together 40 million learners around the world with over 3,000 courses from leading universities and companies.
In last week's recap, I recounted how Alec Ross, author and technology policy advisor, had speculated that robot design, development and manufacturing would be critical to future economic well-being worldwide. What I didn't share was some of the background he provided that calls into question whether United States is positioning itself to be a leader in the robotics industry and the impact robotics will have on U.S. manufacturing jobs going forward. John Hitch has authored two recent articles on the robotics industry--a July 17 article, Reconciling Robot-Induced Anxiety and Admiration and an August 14 article, Manufacturing Obscurity is a Fate Worse than the Robopocalypse. These articles provide detail on these two questions above, and I highly recommend you read them. Here is some of the information they present.
For the second year in a row, Elevate TechFest, Canada's largest technology and innovation festival, took over downtown Toronto in September as over 10,000 members of the tech community, including investors, government, media, start-ups, talent and next generation innovators all gathered to "disrupt together, celebrate diversity and inclusiveness, and proudly showcase the best of Canadian innovation." As a community driven festival, Elevate provides a shared stage for Canada's booming high tech startup ecosystem to showcase their work, and to learn and network through numerous events, educational presentations, award ceremonies, and social gatherings. The result is an exceptionally inclusive and collaborative entrepreneurial platform which highlights Canada's greatest competitive advantage to attract talent and investment for the next generation of innovation. This is particularly relevant in the fields of AI and health/medical technology, with Canada being uniquely poised to drive AI innovation in the healthcare field as a global leader in AI technology with its universal healthcare system. Canada's strength in AI and medical technology was emphasized throughout the various Elevate events and tracks by the prevalence of growing companies developing machine learning and digital health solutions with the goal of democratizing AI powered medicine.
The Government's stated ambition is "not just to lead the world in the 4th industrial revolution – but to ensure that every part of our country powers that success". As well as promoting and investing in the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for commerce, industry and education, the UK Government must rapidly embrace AI in order to evolve rapidly into an intelligent digital government. This means using data, analytics and AI in clever ways that significantly improve life outcomes and opportunities for every citizen who requires support, as well as transforming operational efficiencies.
A collaborative group that includes Salesforce, Deloitte, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Kingdom Office of AI today introduced guidelines for government officials to procure artificial intelligence systems. The guidelines that counsel vendors to ask particular questions before selling their AI to government agencies is being called by the WEF the first for any national government worldwide. In the works for about 10 months, the guidelines made by the previously mentioned organizations were brought together by the WEF's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its AI and ML team. The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution hosts fellows from nations around the world to focus on major initiatives. Governments the world over are increasingly using AI to do things like predict the needs of citizens, help with health care screening, or do things in criminal justice like power predictive policing, track suspects with facial recognition, or determine if people deserve pretrial bail hearings.
LONDON – A U.K. parliamentary committee has released a report that highlights industrial automation in Japan, calling on the government to promote automation in British industries. Japan "has a long history of automation and is home to major robotics manufacturers," the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee wrote in the report published Wednesday, adding that the country is "the origin for half of robots sold globally." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration "has made a conscious choice to support automation as part of its'Abenomics' reforms, recognizing the need for continued growth and development of automation to enable the country to'drastically improve productivity,' " the report states. Referring to Japan's 2015 New Robot Strategy, the report urged the U.K. government to develop its own automation and artificial intelligence strategy by the end of 2020. The report cited an 2018 report by the International Federation of Robotics that ranked the U.K. in 22nd place in terms of robot density -- or the number of industrial robots per 10,000 workers.