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Submitted by NAV Insights on 23 April 2018

Myths Surrounding Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Myths

Artificial intelligence (AI) has had a significant impact in almost all areas of our lives and we have written about the impact of AI and business often. As a widely discussed topic, it follows then that there would be myths, unknowns, and untruths circulating around this technology. Some of these myths are born from fear, some from lack of understanding, and some may just be wishful thinking. This blog tackles busting a few of the more common AI-related myths.

AI and Robots are the Same Thing

Some people use the terms “artificial intelligence and robots” interchangeably. They are wrong. The fields of AI and robotics are completely different. An easy way to remember this is, robots are hardware and AI is software. Robots are physical devices explicitly programmed to perform a fixed set of tasks while AI is software technology that is programmed to perform tasks and “learn” from said tasks. Yes, there are AI-enabled robots, but that still does not make AI and robots the same thing. It can be confusing, but it is important to understand that they are very different technologies and fields of study.

AI Can Learn Just Like Humans

While AI has progressed to the point where computers can learn, how they get there is very different from how we, as humans, do. You may have heard about deep learning. Very simplistically, deep learning is teaching computers how to tell things apart without using barcodes or another number based indicator. Deep learning is based on how we think the human brain works, and as we are learning more about the human brain capabilities every day this is a rapidly developing technology. As a result, we are learning that while AI can learn, its ability to learn in the same manner (and to the same extent of how) humans learn is limited: at least for now.  

We Will Lose Our Jobs to AI

While it is true that many different technologies have improved efficiency, streamlined processes, and automated tasks, therefore reducing the need for headcount, the majority of technological advances have actually created more jobs than it has destroyed. Consider the rise of the internet. The internet has spurred a plethora of high-paying jobs. The same will most likely be true for artificial intelligence. Over time, the artificial intelligence technology will force workers to learn new skills and new jobs will be created to work alongside AI systems. According to Gartner, “AI becomes a positive net job motivator, creating 2.3 million jobs while only eliminating 1.8 million jobs.” So while AI will (probably) not take your job, the job you are doing today may look very different in a few years.

AI Will Take Over Humanity

Along those same lines of being afraid that you will lose your job to a machine, many people are also afraid that artificial intelligence will learn so much that eventually, machines will take over humanity. While it makes for a great movie premise, the reality is highly unlikely. Ken Goldberg, professor of engineering at Berkeley, wrote an insightful article debunking the AI takeover theory.

Bottom line, the development of, and advances in, artificial intelligence should not keep you up at night. Yes, the accomplishments of artificial intelligence technology are progressing and can beat humans at chess, or run massive data analysis, it still cannot boast the capabilities of the human brain when it comes to creative thinking, emotional intelligence, and personality. Artificial intelligence has been around for a long time and it is not going anywhere, which is a good thing as AI has so many positive benefits to the human race.

Read more about how AI has impacted the world of ERP.