In my lectures on robotics, AI and bioscience we not only focus on the ‘science’, but lately we deliberate on the range, growth and convergence of emerging technologies that unlock solutions to the most intractable problems, fueling new industries, and enabling massive disruption. The convergence of artificial intelligence, robotics, AR/VR, synthetic biology, etc. are discussed and debated and we are painting the implications and potential impact of these technologies across a wide range of disciplines, economy and industries. A multi-disciplinary picture of the future driven by these exponential technologies, as we are at an intersection in time where globalization, entrepreneurship, innovation and sciences are blending.
One of the latest discussion was on how these developments could generate new models of an innovation-driven inclusive economy characterized by a range of new technologies that fuse physical, digital and biological worlds. Embracing entrepreneurship to seize opportunities of this new development paradigm by nurturing an environment that encourages new ideas, tolerates mistakes and supports new businesses.
We are still in the midst of Industry 4.0, where manufacturing has taken on the label of ‘smart’ through the integration of the IoT, AI, cyber-physical systems, cloud and cognitive computing. The basic principle behind this industrial revolution is that by chaining machines, intelligent devices and systems manufacturers are creating smart networks throughout the value chain (from materials to production) that can control each other.
As mentioned above, the scientific and technological advancements continue to grow at an incredible speed—so much that we already see the next step on the horizon, one which will bring an increased human touch back to manufacturing. Consumers high-demand of individualization in the products they buy, preferring a degree of ‘hands-on’ personalization and customization with their products. Therefore, where at the moment technology is at the forefront of manufacturing, we will see an increased collaboration between humans and intelligent systems. The merge between the high-speed intelligent systems and machines with the cognitive, critical thinking skills of humans. Estimates vary, but artificial intelligence and automation will probably affect about half of jobs within the next two decades. It is striking that all jobs have aspects that are routine, repetitive and ripe for machine learning. The key question is whether the new, emerging jobs are ones in which humans have a comparative advantage over machines, or if they will require human skills as a complement. The only certainty is that most workers will have to adjust. Their ability to work and contribute to society will depend on that adjustment being successful.
This accelerating pace of change and the widespread disruption enabled by technology feels extremely uncomfortable. Our brains have been hard-wired to think linearly for hundreds of thousands of years. Learning to think and anticipate on the forthcoming future is incredibly hard…but critical. That is one thing. We also need to meaningfully evolve policy, ethics, law, economic and social structures, etc.
The discussion continue.