Industry Experts Forecast “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, with Artificial Intelligence at the Forefront.

Professor Paul Newman addresses the audience during his 2018 Vibrant Digital Future Summit talk on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, or Robots, are fast becoming a huge part of modern society. Reaching new heights in areas such as exploration, surveillance, farming and transport, Artificial Intelligence aims to do things that Humans could not physically do. However, with the rapid growth of Technology, can Robots that seem to be able to do anything work in harmony with Humans?

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of CIFD, explained that: “If people don’t trust the technology that they are using, or the people who are implementing and supporting it, they won’t use it effectively, or may even seek to avoid it.” These thought seem to be sentiments that are echoed through the Tech industry, as Corporations across the globe begin to adjust to the prospect of a “fourth industrial revolution”.

At the center of any Industrial Revolution is certain to be Artificial Intelligence. Businesses have begun to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI), and are finally beginning to see tangible results. Research even suggests that 90%V of the Fortune 1000 organizations have already begun to incorporate AI into their operations. Whilst most coverage of AI focuses on the prospect of machines replacing humans, and eventually take over the world, Oxbotica founder and University of Oxford Information Engineering Professor Paul Newman has adopted a pragmatic approach, highlighting how machines can work with the human race to change the world.

Speaking at the 2018 Vibrant Digital Future Summit in London, Professor. Newman said that: “machines have the ability to amplify what we can do as a species. Imagine you’re sick and you need to choose someone to operate on you? Are you going to choose the new, fresh-out-of-med-school Student, or the older, more experienced surgeon? How about neither? I believe that we will have operations undertaken by machines who, at the time of operating, will have access to every operation ever done by a machine before. They will be able to connect and communicate with each other globally.”

Prof. Newman goes on to explain the many ways that our species already use machines. Machines have explored, with an AI device swimming across the Pacific Ocean last year using only thermal currents last year. We already use AI to farm, entertain us and even mine for us, with fully autonomous mining areas in North America and Australia.

It is argued that assuming that an increase in the use of technology equates to a decline in jobs available is oversimplifying the issue, with real world examples of technology working alongside people clear to see. For example, the automotive industry is making huge strides in the area, with the introduction of “cobots” – Robots that assist workers with heavy lifting and low-skill, repetitive tasks. Industry experts suggest that this means that workers can remain focused on tasks that better utilize, and improve, their specialist skills, resulting in an improved employee well-being and a highly-skilled workforce. If Ai contributes to a happier workforce in what is becoming a more productive industry, perhaps it is more than just “job stealing Robots that will take over the world”, which seems to be the general concern.

Whilst Artificial Intelligence is growing across many industries, Professor Newman believes that the possibilities really are endless. His hopes for the future? “To see software developed here (Earth) used to find life on another planet would be extraordinary.” However, Industry experts stress the importance of “good work” between humans and AI. It is suggested that HR departments should play a bug role in developing this, through bringing insight and understanding to the work force.

Professor Newman also stresses the importance of experience and research, highlighting the infamous Candlestick/Faces optical illusion as an explanation as to why such experience is needed for all machines. “Think of the illusion, if you’d never seen a candlestick before, you would only ever see faces. We are compelled to let machines communicate as much as possible, as experience and data sharing, for anything that a machine ever does, is going to underpin and shape how we use machines in the future.”

Vikash Patel.

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