In recent years, we have seen rapid advancements in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, and machine learning. While these technologies hold great promise for improving our lives and making organizations more efficient, we must not forget that they are ultimately designed and operated by humans.
The Terminator is a 1984 American science fiction film directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose son will one day become a leader in the resistance against machines in a future war.
While the movie is fiction, it highlights an important issue that we must consider as we increasingly rely on AI and automation in our lives: the potential for these technologies to be used for harm. As AI continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, we must ensure that we design and use it responsibly.
These pop culture representations of AI create what I like to call the "Terminator Effect" - which associates automation and autonomous systems with a level of fear. From replacing the human workforce to a full-on global takeover. In reality, we should not fear these technologies, but rather strive to understand them better so that we can use them more effectively.
When used correctly, AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning can help us make better decisions, improve organizational efficiency, and even free up our time so that we can focus on more important tasks. However, we must remember that these technologies are only as good as the data that they are given and the humans who design and operate them.
If we want to realize the full potential of these technologies, we need to focus on the human side of emerging tech. We need to ensure that our data is of high quality and that our algorithms are designed for fairness and transparency. We also need to make sure that we have the right people in place to operate these technologies effectively.
So... how do we combat this misrepresentation and the fear of emerging technologies?
The concept of Artificial Intelligence is often misunderstood. AI systems are modeled after math and data, not human-like emotions or desires. One of the reasons there is this disconnect is because AI is still in its early developmental stages. Just like any new technology, it takes time for people to understand and become comfortable with it.
That’s why it’s important for those of us who work in the industry to do our part in educating the public and orgnaizations about what AI is and how it works. We need to help people understand that these technologies are not something to be afraid of, but rather something that can be used to improve our lives and businesses.
Some ways you can do this:
- Try to explain AI concepts using simple analogies that everyone can understand. For example, you can explain the concept of a neural network by likening it to the human brain. The data we collect is processed and decisions are made - minus the emotions.
- Another way to help people understand AI is to use examples of how it is being used in everyday life. For example, you can explain how AI is being used to improve customer service or how it is being used to make better decisions in an industry like healthcare.
- It’s also important, to be honest about the limitations of AI. For example, you can explain that while AI can help us make better decisions, it is not perfect and sometimes gets things wrong.
- As AI continues to evolve, it’s important to help people understand the ethical implications of these technologies. For example, you can explain how AI is being used to make biased decisions about things like credit scores and employment.
- One of the best ways to help people understand AI is to encourage them to experiment with it themselves. Many online platforms allow users to play around with simple AI algorithms. By doing this, people can see for themselves how these technologies work and what they are capable of.
As I mentioned above, AI models can hold biases if the data they are programmed with is also biased. Back to Terminator, if the cyborgs were true AI systems, they would have clean data points such as the last place of residence, age, employment, etc. to identify the correct Sarah Connor. If this data is dirty or broken, it cannot function appropriately.
They also need regular maintenance to ensure the models did not drift. This is a big problem because it can lead to unfair decisions being made about things like credit scores, employment, and insurance rates.
To combat this, we need to be aware of the biases that exist in our data and algorithms. We also need to make sure that we are designing AI systems for fairness and transparency.
There are many ways to do this, but here are a few things you can keep in mind:
These automated or even autonomous systems are useful tools in spitting out all the information for the best, objective decision for the organization, but they should never be the final say. There always needs to be a human in the loop for these decisions.
There are several reasons for this:
At the end of the day, AI is a powerful tool that has the potential to help us make better decisions. However, it’s important to remember that these systems are not perfect and they should never be used alone. A human perspective is always required when working with AI.
Users can relax into the idea that machines are not taking over the world and, we as thought leaders can start to shift the perspective that AI is coming for your job. It is important to start thinking about how AI can help your role and not replace you. It is business leaders' responsibility to ensure that these systems are designed fairly, transparently, and with empathy. With the right safeguards in place, AI can be a powerful tool that helps us to make better decisions.
If you have questions about how AI can benefit your organization or just want to talk Terminator, please feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to be an informal sounding board for your digital transformation project or just chat with a follow movie nerd!
I also highly recommend you download our newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report which has a lot of great insights into where the market is going and how to leverage emerging technologies.