What Holds Back AI From Achieving Its Full Potential?

What Holds Back AI From Achieving Its Full Potential?

Artificial intelligence technologies may be the “most transformative thing” humans have ever invented. Still, their impact on production processes and the global economy has been “relatively disappointing,” with a slew of factors impeding substantive progress, according to a leading expert in the field.

Over millennia, humans have utilized their intellect to develop many new technologies that have given us longer and better lives, but this progress has come at a cost, such as climate change and devastating weaponry, according to Carl Benedikt Frey, professor of AI & Work at the University of Oxford.

“In that way, we’re not in an unfamiliar landscape. What may be different is that artificial intelligence, as a general-purpose technology, has the potential to revolutionize almost every element of life, he told Anadolu.

“The potential applications are so many that it’s very hard to know exactly what the risks are going forward, so it very much depends on what we use it for.”

When comparing AI progress to previous milestones, he stated that it has the potential to rival the agricultural and industrial revolutions in scale.

“However, in terms of its influence on productivity and the economy, I believe it has been pretty disappointing thus far. It’s nothing like what we witnessed with electricity or the internal combustion engine. We haven’t seen anything like the shift that occurred with the vehicle when the majority of the people had access to personalized mobility’, added Frey.

“As a result, it’s very much a matter of where this technology goes in the next few years. It has the potential to be the most transformational invention yet… However, additional work is required to truly match some of these earlier technical accomplishments.

He emphasized the need for “more innovation in the field… and AI that is more robust,” rather than simply memorizing “data and information that humans have produced.”

AI must now be “actually capable of adjusting to new circumstances and is resilient, as well as capable of planning and learning from smaller datasets similar to humans,” he added.

‘What can we do with AI that we couldn’t before?’

On the broad topic of how AI would affect human workforces, Frey claimed that the answer is inextricably related to how the technology is used in every given area.

“If we use AI for automation, the effects will be job displacement, wage pressure, and a declining labor share of national income,” he said, adding that this would be quite similar to what happened during the first industrial revolution.

The emphasis was therefore “on replacing our workforce and existing activities through, at the time, mechanized factories, which gradually took over production from the domestic systems, where people worked in their homes,” he stated.

“As production mechanized, the jobs of craftsmen vanished,” he explained.

“That’s quite different from what we saw in the middle part of the 20th century, where the automobile and electrical industries created vast new operations that absorbed a lot of people.”

That was due to “technologies that created new products, new tasks, and new industries for workers,” he explained.

“Based on known uses, AI appears to be a replacement technology. Almost every application I can think of focuses on making something we currently do a little more productive,” he added.

“I think the question we need to ask ourselves going forward is what can we do with artificial intelligence that we couldn’t previously do, or what new pathways to discovery does it open … rather than asking how can I be a bit more productive in what I’m already doing.”

Another adjustment that Frey believes is required is creating a balance between investment and experimentation, emphasizing that the latter is critical for genuine growth.

“The Soviet Union invested heavily. Many huge companies that no longer exist made significant investments, but in the wrong areas. So, investment alone is not ideal and does not always lead to innovation and technical growth,” he stated.

The subject of AI requires research right now, which includes “entrepreneurs taking different types of bets, and not just following one technological pathway,” he stated.

“I think a key concern right now is that the current approach to AI is so data- and computer-intensive that only a few companies can afford to push the frontiers in that particular space,” Frey added.

What we need is to “incentivize other players to come in and experiment with less data-intensive models,” he stated.

“So, maybe, we’ll see more of this experimenting in the future. “Investment is important, but it is not enough.”

Source- TheNation

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