AI, Our Future Overlords… or Partners?

I have to admit, I find the concept of artificial intelligence, both terrifying and massively intriguing (mainly terrifying). The concept of AI coexisting and becoming a part of society is something that humanity has long pondered about for better and for worse. I mean, we have all seen The Matrix, haven’t we? Now, I know I might seem that I am getting already ahead of myself, but I just want to throw this all out there as things may get a little philosophical going forward.

AI is kind of a buzzword in 2020. We have dreamers like Elon Musk warning that AI can potentially trump us as the most intelligent beings on Earth. We have scientists at Silicon Valley rushing to make the next best robot that can replicate human emotions. Hell, we even have LGBT-pop princess Robyn singing about our future potentially dystopian relationship with machines in her song “Human Being” off of her latest critically acclaimed album, Honey.

But what is AI really? Is it this new-ageish concept about transhumanism and our evolution as some suspect? Is it something more abstract? Is is just a talking calculator? And of course, what does it mean for you, me, us?

Fun fact, I love quantum physics and philosophy. Call me crazy (I am), but I just love giving myself an existential crisis from time to time. A few years ago I read an interesting thoery/hot take on how everything in the universe is just mathematics. From our emotions, to the little particles that make up this illusory universe we inhabit- would not be quantitative without an innate mathematical existence embedded everywhere. I pondered this and then read another article about how our computers are just, big calculators and that every little piece of data is fed into this machine that computes complicated mathematical formulas to give an experience. The article then touched upon AI and how it’s just a mathematical entity that is simply computing data based on trends. It is then I had this “a-ha!” moment where I began to understand the limitations of AI, and our fundamental relationship to it. It helped me understand that we as human recognize patterns just as computer could, and thats where our similarities and differences overlap in many ways.

Data can make predictions about information from the past trends and how they may come about in the future, but it is not always right. As a marketing student, I find myself wondering how AI may disrupt my profession and career. Will there be a super robot that just spits perfect campaigns out? From the theme, ideas, and colors to make it perfectly digestible for the targeted consumer? According to research… not really, actually. The fact of the matter is that AI is just another element I as a marketer can use creatively and quantitatively in producing research and content. Numbers are extremely important for marketers, so AI is definitely a permanent member of the team now whether we embrace it or not. AI may discover successful trends through data…but it is up to me, the marketer with human sensibilities and a brain to take these numbers and apply them to abstract concepts and ideas.

At the end of the day AI is just like a talking calculator. It doesn’t have to be so scary.

The article I read had some very cool points they laid out at the bottom of the page regarding “AI anxieties,” which helped put me at ease:

  • You can stop panicking about a superhuman AI. As Kevin Kelly writes, that’s a myth.
  • Another worry you can cross off your list? The fear that robots will take all of our jobs. It’s not nearly that simple.
  • But AI is becoming an ever-more integral factor in the future of work. Say hello to your new AI coworkers.