Partnership with machines vital to our future success; COMMENT.
Callum Sinclair Partner and Head of Technology, Burness Paull E: email@example.com W: www.burnesspaull.com My mother-in-law has just joined a book and poetry group (this is not a joke, as promising a start to one as it may be). Amongst the first texts she was allocated was"Portrait of a Machine"by American poet Louis Untermeyer.
Its focus is humanity's endeavour to replace humans with machines. ("obedient monster purring as its toil; these naked iron muscles dripping oil...").
Despite being written in 1922, there are obvious parallels with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In particular I was struck by the ending: "It does not vent its loathing, does not turn Upon its makers with destroying hate. It bears a deeper malice; lives to earn Its master's bread and laughs to see this great Lord of the earth, who rules but cannot learn, Become the slave of what his slaves create." One of my own favourite authors is Robert Harris, and I have just finished his book"The Fear Index". The story is about a runaway AI platform for predicting financial markets which has silently "learned" to protect itself from human interference.
Both Untermeyer and Harris sound warnings into the future about unregulated unbounded artificial intelligence (though the former perhaps unknowingly). There is an abundance of AI hype, but amongst it we should take care not to underestimate the significance of the likes of the Google Deep Mind victory against the finest human Go player on the planet.
The time has come for us to re-define our relationship with machines to ensure we complement artificial intelligence with human emotional intelligence in everything we do, whilst integrating appropriate controls and safeguards by design through regulation and governance.
Our future successes as businesses, and as societies, will depend on our ability to strike a new deal with machines to bring our best from both in ethical, responsible partnership.