Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational speaker who can cover Artificial Intelligence (AI) at your next business event. Contact us to check availability. The full transcript of the above video is included below.
Full Video Transcript:
Hi and welcome to another edition of Strategic Business Insights. Today we’re going to talk about artificial intelligence. Is artificial intelligence going to be the demon that destroys humanity at some point or is it going to be something that’s going to make our lives easier and better?
And of course this is a huge debate right now, but I want to introduce a concept right off the bat which will change perhaps your perspective of artificial intelligence and whether or not it’s a danger or whether or not it’s not a danger, and it’s the concept of the second user, the second wave. So whenever a new technology comes about, the initial users of that technology are usually people doing research in universities, people in governments, people in very large organizations, and although like the organizations, for example, they may have a profit motive which some people don’t agree with, but at the end of the day these primary players are doing things for the public good or they’re not doing anything terribly horrible with this technology.
So that’s the first wave, is the first user. The first set of users is the research, the universities, the academic institutions, the governments, and the large corporations. But who’s the second user? What’s the second wave of technology? It’s the second wave that you have to worry about.
So let’s look at social media. Social media came out basically 2005, 2006, 2007. That was really when social media started to accelerate in terms of its usage and its ubiquity, if you will. Everyone started to use it. And of course at the beginning, for the most part, people were using it for predictable, fairly normal, law-abiding purposes. They weren’t doing it to break the law. And today, who’s using social media now? Well, ISIS, the Islamic State, is using social media, and they’re using social media very effectively. So that’s the second user that comes in and now they’re using it for evil. They’re using it to propagate their own message. So all of a sudden we have a second wave of users that are now taking advantage of social media and using it for bad purposes, not good purposes, or let’s say illegal purposes rather than law-abiding purposes.
Well, this also parallels data in general. There’s a big trend right now in big data, the use of data by companies and governments and just about everyone in between. But again, the first users were using data to support their business, to support their profit motive or the service they had to provide to the public if it’s the government, but they were essentially law-abiding purposes. But then the second wave comes in. The second user comes in. Who’s that? Those are the hackers. Those are the credit card fraud people. Those are the people who are blackmailing people with data – they’re finding data and then blackmailing them and getting ransoms out of them by threatening to post this data on the Internet. So all of a sudden you have this second wave coming in that’s using data for illegal purposes, not law-abiding purposes.
Artificial intelligence – it’s going to be the same thing. Now, artificial intelligence isn’t here yet, although the early stages of artificial intelligence are already with us. People refer to machine-to-machine learning, machine learning, and this is already a part of our lives. Machine learning is happening. And essentially what we’re talking about is when a computer program can run calculations and garner some sort of an insight or a relationship that it finds through its calculations and then it incorporates that relationship or that insight into the code which allows it to look into data even better in the future. That’s machine learning. That’s artificial intelligence. The software program is learning along the way.
When it comes in full force in our lives, and we’ll talk about that in a second when that might be, but we’re going to have the first wave, which is going to be academic institutions and people doing research, governments and law-abiding corporations around the world. But who’s going to be the second user? Who’s going to be that second wave? Who’s going to be in the second wave? Once the technology becomes ubiquitous and everyone can get their hands on the artificial intelligence. Eventually there will be models, there will be almost like an open-source option, there will be open-source ways of incorporating artificial intelligence—once that becomes ubiquitous and people know how to incorporate it into their own whatever interest they’re pursuing, that artificial intelligence is going to pop up with some hacker in Russia or China or even someone right here in the United States or in Germany or in the UK where someone has ulterior motives, or perhaps in the Middle East or maybe it will be ISIS again or the evolution of whatever ISIS becomes in the years ahead of us. But at the end of the day, there are going to be second users of artificial intelligence. Those are the people we have to be worried about. Those are the people who pose a threat to humanity because they might explicitly want to use artificial intelligence to destroy humanity. There are people on this planet who would love nothing more than to do precisely that.
Now, a lot of people have weighed in on the artificial intelligence discussion including Bill Gates and Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking among others, many of them saying we have to be very careful with artificial intelligence. In fact, most of the greatest minds are saying it does pose a danger and there are only a few people who are saying it’s not a danger at all. But the more important question is, when could it become a danger? And this is where you’ve got people like Ray Kurzweil who have come onto the scene. Ray Kurzweil is the person who wrote The Singularity is Near and works for Google right now and he’s a very, very interesting man whose predictions with respect to technology have been unbelievable over the years, and he’s predicting that the singularity, which is essentially when humanity and machines effectively merge, will happen in 2029. That’s his prediction, not mine. And he may even adjust these predictions, but that’s one that I read of his. So we’re talking about roughly 15 years from now. Not even – 13 or 14 years from now, we could be at that stage.
Now, at one time the human genome was being sequenced and they had a 15-year time horizon to get that done or at least that’s what they budgeted to do it, and in year seven they had accomplished a total of 1% of the human genome. And of course, most experts at that point said, “We’re never going to get it done on time. We’ve only done 1% and half the time has already elapsed. Of 15 years, we’ve already gone through seven years. We’ve only gotten to 1%.” Ray Kurzweil correctly hypothesized that we would make the deadline and in fact we got it done early because 1% is only seven doublings away from 100% – 1 to 2, 2 to 4, 4 to 8, 8 to 16, 16 to 32, 32 to 64, and in that next doubling you’re already over a hundred. So 1%, if you double every year, and a lot of technologies are doubling every year, 1% is only seven years away from 100%.And right now we see that this exact same discussion is playing out with autonomous vehicles. Most of the experts are saying, “It’s going to be a long time before we have self-driving vehicles on the roads in any sort of a large-scale way.” I disagree and Ray Kurzweil disagrees as well. We are very close. If this technology continues to follow Moore’s Law and the doubling every year, whatever that exact ratio is with respect to autonomous vehicles, if that exponential curve continues, we’re going to see self-driving vehicles on our roads a lot sooner than you think.
And the same thing could happen with artificial intelligence. We’re just starting to play with it in very small isolated areas of research or academia, and to some extent even with corporations, but if it continues along that exponential curve it’s going to be upon us sooner that you think. And again, it’s not the first user, it’s not the first wave that you have to worry about. The first wave’s going to be fine. It’s the second wave that comes in behind it – that’s where the problems arise, and it will be a problem because when the technology becomes ubiquitous, there are a lot of people on this planet who are very frustrated and angry with the institutions, with the reality of our world and how it’s being run and our governing bodies, and believe me, if they have an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to create Skynet or something similar which destroys humanity or disrupts it at such a large impact that it could achieve some of their goals, they’ll be the first ones to do it. So we have to be educated as it gets closer, and it’s sooner than you think.
Thanks so much for watching this video. My name is Patrick, reminding you as always to think bigger about your business, think bigger about your life.
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a keynote speaker who has spoken at business conferences in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.