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#AI@Work: It’s Everywhere, It’s Everywhere!

ChatGPT, Bard, Firefly! Research papers, conversations, art! Is there any limit to the impact of artificial intelligence on the workplace? AI is all around us. It has become an everyday thing. It helps us, it frustrates us and sometimes it makes us laugh. It impacts how we work, where we work and what we do at work. After years of “the robots are coming,” the bots have arrived. It’s hard these days to talk to a human in customer service. Barriers to entry kept AI at bay for decades, then it all changed. Google knew your birthday and Alexa and Siri were making recommendations for songs to listen to and recipes for dinner. AI and workplace disruption has only begun. Society hasn’t really felt the impact of this technology yet. Not like it will in the next few decades. Disruption of this magnitude will shake up how we work, learn and play on every level. It’s time to start thinking and planning for a new way of life. Let’s not get caught in the same traps we did when
the Internet opened up data, privacy and a hole other can of worms.

AI will be bigger, more impactful and disrupt our lives even more quickly than the Internet did. Terms like deep learning, machine learning, big data, and little data are part of everyday conversations. The engineering of AI has begun. Now is the time to ask questions. What do we want AI to do? How can it help people? How might it hurt people? How will it reframe business processes? AI took a long time coming but now that it is here, it demands our attention and respect. Because without our respect, humanity is in trouble. This technology is powerful. More powerful than any other we’ve ever known.

Most AI today is based on semantic language processing. Language translations and understanding has moved AI closer to providing humans with non- human conversant assistants. Slowly since the 1960s MIT, IBM, CMU (Carnegie Mellon University), Stanford and many other think tanks have moved AI forward. No one has contributed as much as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). There are a lot of players in the AI arena now and many of them have a lot of skin in the game. Amazon, Meta, IBM, Google, Apple, Microsoft; the current tech giants are all in. There is not one definition of AI. Generally, AI describes machines doing work that would normally require humans to do it. From the beginning AI has been plagued with duality. The more pervasive the technology becomes the more we begin to start to understand the challenges of having machines that can “think.”

With every new technology comes displacement and upheaval. The workplace is transformed and rearranged. AI is certainly no exception and has the potential to be the most disruptive yet. AI is both accessible and powerful. It has the potential to do a tremendous amount of good. It also has the potential to turn our world upside down, displacing millions in the workplace, eliminating jobs and creating incredible inequalities. It also has the potential for doing great good. AI is ready to solve problems, take over redundant and menial tasks and free up humans to live a life based of fulfilling the needs of people not just business. AI meets people where they are. Whether it is a robot on the assembly line or a chatbot on your phone or a website, AI goes to where people need it.

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