AI, as described by Google APAC CMO Simon Kahn, is currently enabling machines to work with software, take inputs and develop insights that they wouldn’t normally be able to generate. As a result of learning through neural nets, the machines start new patterns and outcomes that then plug in to other actions - instead of being programmed, they thus get smarter by taking in tons of data, digesting it and then using it efficiently. Despite the advancement of AI and the evolving possibilities, Kahn sees its future not in cost-cutting measures, but in opportunities to grow new industries instead.
In healthcare, Dr. Jeremy Lim of Oliver Wyman sees AI as a way to provide more efficient and cost-effective treatment rather than as a replacement for services that are best provided by medical staff. Pattern recognition, for example, which is still mostly done by humans, holds a lot of potential for cost cutting and giving humans more time to do more complex tasks. While, in the future, machines will be able to help to narrow down a diagnosis, AI will never be able to replace doctors and the relationships that are crucial to doctor-patient interaction. Healthcare will be comparatively late to adapt, however, as there are a host of legal issues that will need to be resolved first.
In the finance sector, the recent, ongoing explosion of data has made it almost impossible to make sense of information without programs, according to Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Consequently, he predicts, the industry will not be disrupted, but changed completely in the sense of an infrastructural shift. In the insurance sector, a more profound impact can already be observed - with the ability of AI to react to the complexity level of daily decisions, he sees new business opportunities when it comes to the pricing of premiums and the way that micro insurance is done.
Mohanty estimates that about 50 to 70 million jobs will be impacted by AI in the near future. Dramatic as this might sound to our ears today, Kahn puts it into perspective, saying that "we’re several years away from technology taking over," and emphasizing that "the ones who will be successful will be those who still apply fundamental principles."
Despite the diversity of perspectives, all the experts agreed on one point: in the future, it will not be man versus machine, but rather man with machine.