Rather than talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI), I prefer to reference Virtual Intelligence (VI). Artificial implies fake or unnatural, whereas Virtual implies computer generated or simulated. Virtual suggests a replication of the real world. I believe the term VI better represents the transformation we are currently witnessing in the digitalisation of society.
What will VI mean to the professions and what impact will it have on those professionals and their careers? I believe the impact will be profound.
Many professionals believe their roles within society will forever be safe based on the presumption that judgement, creativity, instinct and experience will always prevail and never be digitally replicated. This misconception may be the undoing of many.
To understand this better, we need to clarify why these human attributes exist in the first place. Primarily, humans use these terms to explain their lack of processing power. People who perform at the highest level, use judgement or instinct to make decisions. Similarly, a person who generates something that hasn’t been seen or done before is defined as creative. So how can computers replicate these attributes?
The reality is that computers don’t need these attributes. Their processing power is infinitely higher than a human and continues to grow exponentially. Rather than be creative, a computer can generate infinite options to an open problem. By applying defined parameters, infinite options quickly converge on the best solution. Without the ability to generate every possible option the human relies on creativity alone.
So, will VI render the role of professionals irrelevant? In my mind this will ultimately be determined by how the client uses the technology. If the client perceives any level of risk or uncertainty in using the technology, then the client will expect the uncertainty and risk to be carried by the professional and hence their relevance will be maintained. If, however, the client is willing to accept that there is no risk associated with using VI, the professional will ultimately be rendered irrelevant.
Responsibility will transfer over to the client, virtual will become real and the only thing artificial will be the professional.