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Artificial Intelligence – Where will all the jobs go?

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The scene was perfectly set as has become the regular in the Santiago de Alfama Hotel, kindly hosted by Manuel Rosa de Silva, proudly announcing the “Best Boutique Hotel in Europe” status which is clearly recongised by the 87% American clientele he hosts, which incidentally is 80% from the West Coast (San Francisco). If the walls could talk, they would have added even more to the discussion that was had.

As ever, the event was opened by BPCC CEO Chris Barton (standing in as photographer for the day too) and due thanks were passed to Carlos Oliveira and Moneris for sponsoring the lunch. The introductions followed and it is safe to say that all those present were intrigued and impressed by the diversity and experience of their lunch partners. Mr. Oliveira as sponsor was given the floor to commence the discussion. What happened next surprised all and demonstrated the complexity of what was thought to be a rather simple “think tank” question.

Should people have been asked to create a list of subjects to be covered under the “AI Umbrella”, one would not have potentially included, gene editing, university degree currency limits, computer written music, the expansion of the universe, and the definition of consciousness, but such was the breadth of experience around the table and collective intellectual hunger.

It is quite impossible to summarise the afternoon safe to say that this is largely not a subject about technology but about legitimate, and largely positive, curiosity about the future for the next (and following) generation; have their jobs been created yet, what will be the professions of the future. Subscribing to AI being a pillar of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the social implications have to remain front of mind.

If a summary were required it would that probably people do not appreciate how far AI has already advanced, computers can indeed obtain intelligence as is defined “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills”, the limit is how much we teach them but when we do, and they gain intelligence, they are quicker at applying it and do so without any ingrained bias’.

The discussion, like this report, could have gone on for many hours. An epic event (as we have become accustomed), quite the meeting of minds brought together by the common membership of our BPCC.

Text: Bob Williams The Ops Gent

Photos: Chris Barton