[RECAP and READ] Knowing the Future: How Artificial Intelligence Will Shape Tomorrow

Several inspiring women panelists gathered together at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India to discuss the implications of artificial intelligence on humanity’s collective future. The all-star panel included Elizabeth Gore – Chairman of Alice, Nivruti Rai – Country General of Intel, Rama Kalyani Akkiraju – Distinguished engineer at IBM, and Shubha Nabar – Senior Director, Data Science at Salesforce. Here are the key takeaways:

    1. Artificial intelligence will make huge disruptions in the healthcare, manufacturing, and customer service sectors. From simplifying logistics to using image detection classification AI to using chatbots to streamline processes, huge changes are coming and jobs will shift as automation becomes inevitable.
    2. AI needs to become more accessible to the public. Part of understanding how to build an AI system is trusting and understanding what happens. This will require greater participation from the public. Companies will need to explain what AI is to users, in a way people understand, and what the implications are. The public also needs to put their trust in AI. Models should be somewhat transparent, and companies should be exposing the right metrics – the things you predict and how they correlate with what you predict a month later, a year later, etc. – in order to foster greater public trust around the model.   
    3. Humanity is still an integral part of AI. Just because we’re moving towards a more automated future doesn’t mean that humanity will grow less important. If you think about it, the humanity behind AI is what makes our AI lovable, trusted, and usable. And there’s a good reason why we put human elements behind AI. Just think about prominent and popular AIs such as Watson, Siri, Alice, Einstein, etc. At the end of the day, the entrepreneurs and leaders that will be successful are the ones who don’t JUST know the technical capabilities of AI but also understand culture, humanity, and how to create a user-centered AI.
    4. The best founders and the data are the ones that use AI as a tool, not those who say “we are an AI company.” The most successful are the ones who take a holistic approach and use AI as a tool for end users. After all, users will always be king. When designing and building AI tools, we should be thinking about and designing for the person using AI, not the AI itselff.
    5. What should governments do to prepare the next generation to take advantage of AI? There is a lot of debate about AI leaving blue collar workers jobless and destroying the economy as we know it. The truth is that there will definitely be changes in the job landscape, but it will not necessarily leave us all jobless. Smart policy is necessary to train workers, create an economic security net, and begin the shift to a more digitized economy. Thinkers like Bill Gates have proposed a robot tax, where every job that a company gives to a robot his taxed a certain amount. That tax can then be leveraged to re-skill a person to create a different job for him/her in the new digital economy. In addition, we should be thinking of our politicians – how many are technology-literate? How many have a technological background? Everyone needs to take responsibility of who you’re putting into office or how public officials are getting educated in technology.
    6. AI reduces discrimination and lowers barriers to entry. Think about how ATMs changed society: you don’t get discriminated against by an ATM. It’s not about banks, tellers, or even VCs on the other side of the counter saying, “you don’t look the way I’m used to, and I have an unconscious bias against you.” You can withdraw money without discrimination. With AI, you’re automating more and more processes while striving to eliminate human bias and error. This is what we’re increasingly seeing with fintech companies such as Connector.ID and cryptocurrencies like Blockchain — the barrier to funding is lowered, transactions become more transparent, and corruption can be reduced.

The panel left the audience feeling hopeful about the future of AI, while also giving entrepreneurs a sense of how to integrate AI into their own companies. The discussion on AI is growing and has only just begun; it is up to leaders – including women entrepreneurs – to continue to build empathetic and user-centric AI tools to help create a better future.
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