How will you take advantage of AI?
While a general population in Europe still has a highly limited level of digital skills and imagine artificial intelligence as a science-fiction rather than an emerging trend, the Fourth Industrial Revolution with its breakthrough technology, from robotics and Internet of Things through 3-D printers, autonomous vehicles and nanotechnology to Artificial Intelligence, is already disrupting almost every industry.
The revolution has a high potential to raise global income level and improve the quality of life on a global scale. From the other side, it can lead to a greater inequality through disruption in the labor market. Similar to the previous ones (related to the introduction of electricity or internet), this revolution requires adaptation in policies, education and culture. Meanwhile, the majority of media bombing society with dramatic scenarios of drastic unemployment encourages resistance to embrace the revolution among a broad scope of Europeans, including politicians holding on to the current social and economic order.
While most of the countries slowly approach the topic, some countries already embraced the change.
Looking for a way to protect citizens from negative impacts of automation connected with the popularization of AI, Canada devoted a $125 million to attract and retain top academic talents and increase the number of graduates and researchers in AI related fields. Furthermore, a new unemployment plan allows the unemployed to retain their unemployment benefits if they return to school to improve their qualifications to find a new job.
China is already embracing AI at the national level investing billions of dollars into both public and private AI R&D and attracting overseas talent. That already resulted in making China the World Leader in the production of scientific publications in the AI area.
3. United Arab Emirates
Above others the United Arab Emirates, known for forward thinking, decided to develop a comprehensive strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The decision announced only last year already resulted in establishing the first in the world AI ministry, aiming to attract the technology and make the UAE the world hub for innovation and emerging technology.
UAE strategy includes revolutionizing the local transportation and shortening significantly commuting time. The first flying taxi drones are already being tested in Dubai. That’s also the location where you can be fined by a robotic policeman with video recognition system, as a part of a police pilot program. The Dubai Future Foundation is an art center located in the world’s first fully operational 3D printed office building. UAE administration also launched a number of projects to become the first blockchain city looking into the leveraging blockchain to provide government services.
The broad number of already implemented projects shows express adoption of breakthrough technology and the strong focus of UAE to take leadership in the future global economy. The key to reach the objective is to get the society on board. Therefore, billions of dollars go into social development (43.5%), with strong focus on education (17.1%). Programs such as One Million Arab Coders, which brings programming skills to young people across the Middle East aims to prepare the society to the new reality.
From the other side a voice of resistance is also present in policy dialogue. Among others, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Steve Mnuchin stated that he does not believe that artificial intelligence would significantly impact jobs for around 50 to 100 years.
Despite the opposing political positions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will impact life of all. Whatever our feelings regarding the changes and raise of AI are, it’s time to look how we can get the best out of it. The revolution, as previous ones, will impact the world order and the level of adjustment to the new challenges will determine our wealth in that reality.
While the final impact of Fourth Revolution is unknown, what is sure is the need for adaptation on the personal, business and governmental level.
Especially in case of people, whose occupations are in the risk of being automatized, it is crucial to look for alternatives. As the process of requalification and skills development is usually time-consuming, the time to start is now.
So why not to look at AI as a great chance instead of a threat? It is a high time to make an effort to identify an exciting path for a future and work on it now, not only on the macro, but also micro and individual level.
So what would you love to do when you will be able to delegate your work to AI?