»KI 2041«: The real story of AI

Of course, some aspects of the development of artificial intelligence should be carefully analyzed, but it is important not to ignore the big picture and the potential of this extremely important technology in all fears. Like most technologies, AI is neither good nor bad in itself. As with most technologies, in the long run, the positive social effects of AI will outweigh the negative ones. Just think of the enormous benefits of electricity, cell phones and the internet. Throughout human history, we have often feared new technologies that would threaten the status quo. Over time, these fears tend to disappear and related technologies become part of our daily lives and improve our standard of living.

I believe there are many exciting uses and scenarios where AI can fundamentally improve our society. First, global AI will generate tremendous value – PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates it at $ 15.7 trillion by 2030 – to help fight hunger and poverty. AI will also provide efficient services that will return us to our most valuable resource: time. It will take over routine tasks and give us the freedom to do more stimulating or demanding activities. Finally, humans will cooperate in symbiosis with artificial intelligence; AI will do quantification, optimization and routine work while we humans bring creativity, critical thinking and passion. Everyone’s productivity will increase, which will allow us to fully use our potential. The significant contribution AI is likely to make to human well-being needs to be considered as closely as the risks it poses.

With the myriad negative reports on AI, I think it’s important to tell these other stories as well and answer the question “What next?” So I decided to write another book on artificial intelligence. This time, I wanted to broaden my horizons a bit and imagine the state of the world and our society in 20 years, which is 2041. My goal is to tell the true story of AI at this point in the future in an impartial and sustainable way, but also constructive and hopeful. So this book is based on “realistic artificial intelligence” or technologies that already exist or are expected to be ready for use in the next 20 years. The narratives gathered here paint a portrait of our world in 2041, based on technologies more than 80 percent likely to be marketed during this period. I may overestimate or underestimate some, but I strongly believe that the scenarios in this book are plausible.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
(Artur C. Clarke)

Why am I so sure? Over the past 40 years, I have been involved in AI research and product development projects at Apple, Microsoft, and Google, and managed $ 3 billion in investment in the technology sector. Consequently, I have hands-on experience with the time and processes required for the technology described in the technical document to become a mass product. As a consultant to various governments on AI strategy, I am also familiar with the political and regulatory framework and the considerations behind it. I do not make speculative forecasts of breakthroughs, limiting myself mainly to describing the likely or potential future applications of existing technologies. As artificial intelligence has gained a foothold in less than 10 percent of the economy so far, there are many possibilities for what these sectors with AI applications might look like in the future. In short, I firmly believe that AI will have a profound impact on our society with little or no breakthrough.

As far as I know, “AI Superpowers” was so positively received by readers because it was understandable even to people without prior knowledge of AI. While writing this new book, I asked myself: what can I do to tell stories about AI in a way that appeals to even more people? The answer was: I would have to work with someone who is good at storytelling! So I decided to get in touch with my former Google colleague Chen Qiufan. After I left Google, I started a venture capital company. Qiufan did something bolder – he became an award-winning science fiction writer. I was delighted when Qiufan agreed to collaborate with me on the project, combining his creativity with my assessment of what AI technologies could achieve in 20 years. We both thought it would be fascinating to imagine the technologies that would come into our lives in the next 20 years and embed them in narratives. We wouldn’t have to resort to teleportation or aliens to charm our readers.

Qiufan and I have reached an amazing deal. First, I would design a “technology map” that would predict when certain technologies will reach market maturity, how long should data collection and AI optimization take, and how easy it would be to incorporate an AI product across industries. I also considered possible external factors – challenges, regulations and other complicating factors, as well as conflicts and storytelling dilemmas that may arise with these technologies. Thanks to my contributions to technology components, Qiufan has developed his talents – inventing characters, scenes, and storylines that will bring these themes to life. We tried to make each story exciting, provocative and technologically consistent. After each story, I analyze the AI ​​technology it contains and describe its impact on human life and society. We selected the stories to cover all the key aspects of AI and roughly recommended that they move from basic to advanced technologies. We hope that the sum of these parts provides an engaging and understandable introduction to AI.

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