Artificial intelligence: astonishmentment and fear

The news about the progress of artificial intelligence (AI) amazes just as frightens equally. You just have to check the newspapers and websites to verify the growing impact of its applications and the cascade of reactions generated by each advance.

Last week, the OpenAI Five project, based on the AI, won for the first time to expert players of the famous game Dota 2. In the United Kingdom, a company managed to get the IA to learn to drive a car in twenty minutes, just following the teachings of an instructor. Meanwhile, in Spain, the Polytechnic University of Valencia revealed an AI system capable of estimating the «level of curiosity» of tourists and proposing «personalized recommendations» of new destinations. This last contribution, without a doubt, would be very useful for our events in the most exotic and inspiring places in the world, with our sights set on Bali, Egypt and Morocco as next steps.

However, not all are compliments in the unstoppable development of artificial intelligence. Even the brilliant professor Stephen Hawking said a few years ago that its improvement could mean «the end of the human race.» In the same way, today millions of people believe that robots will take away their jobs, which supposedly would condemn them to live worse.

New technologies, as you know, are neither good nor bad. Understanding the world in which we move and guaranteeing basic ethical standards are fundamental tasks to avoid any deviation that threatens the human being. But, as we prepare, there is no room for delay for a future that is already here.

In front of the unstoppable loss of jobs, there is no room for panic, but for anticipation. There are hundreds of new profiles and professions, arisen in the heat of the technological advance, that wait for their incorporation to the university plans. Are we doing well down this path?

Automation and artificial intelligence are two challenges, but also two opportunities. Given the likelihood that our workday is reduced by half, companies, governments, international organizations —and all of us— must focus on redirecting the drastic changes that come. Education, social security, leisure and tourism, and many more sectors, will have to adapt to new forms of organization if we want the technological imprint to generate progress and not chaos.

Jack Welch, the businessman who reinvented the company General Electric, sentenced a great truth about the technological impact: «Change before you have to». How are we doing on it?



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