IBM Tells Us Not to Worry About AI, But Can We Trust Them?

July 10th, 2017

IBM automation

By Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder

When it comes to AI and robots, people have a tendency to think about movies like The Matrix or Terminator, where machines rule men in a dystopian future. It’s easy to fear a technology that we do not fully understand and that genuinely has the potential to surpass our own capabilities. And sometimes our imaginations can get the best of us.

But AI and automation are not evil entities. AI will make our lives better in many ways. It has the ability to greatly improve our understanding of the world, help us battle many of the diseases we face, ease the pollution we cause, improve the routes we travel, and generally make our lives easier.

It’s nice to know that some companies are heading to Washington with this very message: machines and machine learning are here to help humanity achieve its fullest potential. But it’s also important to consider the source of any lobbying campaign, its message, and its intentions.

IBM has recently been wooing Washington to ease fears of our AI “overlords.” While we generally agree that AI is a positive for the world, IBM interestingly takes the position that AI will not result in net job loss for humans. I’m not sure I agree with this point.

In this case, we need to examine closely the incentive of the company making this statement. IBM’s business is largely based on AI technology. If you’ve seen Jeopardy, you know that Watson had no trouble handling Ken Jennings. But IBM is clearly attempting to create a legislative environment that supports their agenda. There’s an inherent conflict of interest here, which is why I take greater stock in the studies being put out by neutral third parties who do not have any skin in the game.

If you like this article, you might enjoy reading How to Combat Net Job Loss Due to Automation