A chat with CEO of Fast-Future, Rohit Talwar
There arises an internal conflict of sorts when the topic of Artificial Intelligence comes up. On the one hand, it’s just so cool and full of mystery worthy of Hollywood while on the other hand, it can be downright scary. What makes the realm of AI so curiously interesting is the demographic that follows it. Fans of X-Files, Stranger Things and Terminator for example, certainly find AI a lot cooler than those who have been warned by the writings of Orwell.
Economists and the business community look at AI as an opportunity to automate the mundane jobs across industries, while Educationists fear the labor-intensive workforce won’t have enough time to polish their skills and move into more skilled jobs. The age-old argument that technology is reducing jobs is somewhat moot because the demands of the Knowledge Economy for skilled, intelligent humans to do tasks that require rationalization instead of monotony, will only grow.
But this really needs more understanding. More insight. Certainly needs a lot more discussion. And that’s why when we came across the announcement that our old friend, speaker and overall incredible visionary co-authored a book called, “Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Is Artificial Intelligence a Societal Wake Up Call for the Planet?”, we reached out to him to ask a few questions that we bothering us.
For those who don’t know, Rohit Talwar is the CEO of Fast-Future and one of those speakers who make so much sense regardless of how often you listen to them.
Are people at risk of becoming more stupid, if so who will keep the future in check for humans?
In the book, we argue that individuals, society, businesses, and governments have become very confused by Artificial Intelligence (AI), and displaying short-termist thinking and behaviors that some might consider genuine stupidity. For example, the average citizen is not taking AI seriously enough; not taking the time to understand what it is and how deeply it could impact us.
Next, society isn’t really prepared or thinking too hard about how this could transform everything from family structures and the working of the courts, through to the requirements of education systems. Most businesses are, in the main, either ignoring it, or focusing on the applications and internal benefits rather than the broader societal impacts. This is critical, as there could be a huge socioeconomic impact if everyone is laying staff off in favor of technology. Some technology vendors are at risk of over-hyping their products. Finally, most governments are sleepwalking on the issue of AI hoping the market will fix it but that’s unlikely.
A growing number of people like ourselves and other futurists, social researchers, leaders like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and others argue for a more conscious and long-term approach. We need to raise societal literacy about AI and other disruptive technologies, and equip adults and children with the skills to be able to learn new jobs regularly, or create their own businesses.
Deep R&D investment is required in the job-creating sectors of the future such as green energy and synthetic biology. Acknowledgement is required that AI could lead to large scale disruption and increased mental health issues in society. Finally, we need mechanisms to ensure people have the money or the means to get the goods and services they need. This might mean guaranteed basic incomes funded by a robot tax – but there are other options too.
What do you foresee the impact of AI in emerging markets versus in the developed markets?
On the one hand, a lot of exciting developments are coming from emerging markets as the technologies become democratized and accessible to all. However, there is also a risk that firms in emerging markets might leapfrog to so called “Fourth Industrial Revolution” smart solutions, and bypass the need for large human workforces and the skills development and economic betterment that come with job creation.
Greater polarization of wealth could occur and civil unrest might arise if huge segments of the population fear they will be replaced by ever-cheaper robots and AI applications and have poor future employment prospects.
What made you write the book?
We were concerned that on the one hand there was a lot of ill informed debate and a lack of understanding about AI, and on the other hype and scaremongering that are serving to create hysteria in some circles. What we need is deeper awareness, informed debate, and proactive action to buffer the potential impacts and help generate the next economy in an AI-enabled world. Across the book, we set out a clear set of actions for all to ensure AI serves humanity.
What should readers hope to get out of it?
An exploration of AI’s potential and its applications across different sectors, discussion of how it might impact business, identification of the critical challenges and priorities for society and government, and an examination of the possible impacts on jobs, work, and the economy. Each chapter highlights critical questions we need to be asking ourselves to ensure we are not surprised by the emerging future.
5 people can win a free copy of Rohit’s First Book! Here’s how:
1. Comment about ‘how AI is shaping the future of your industry?’
2. 5 winners will get Rohit’s first book, “The Future of Business”, absolutely free!
*Deadline to submit: 17th December 2017. For more details, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org