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TED Talk: Would You Be Happy to Follow a Robot Leader?

Feature Article | June 12, 2017 by Theo Priestley

Once upon a time in the future you will have to choose between a human and an AI to lead a country.

The idea may sound far-fetched but already some business leaders predicting that companies will have artificial intelligence (AI) in the boardroom, driving and making strategic decisions. Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, has said he expects to see an AI on the cover of TIME magazine as ‘CEO of the Year’ by 2030.

So, could you choose a robot over a human to lead, or would there be an immediate and unfounded irrational fear that would stop you? Why would we still find it hard to choose between a human or robot leader if big business will one day be run by an AI?

Will AI be CEO of the Year by 2030?

There’s a misconception that scares people, that there will be one God-like AI ruling everything, and this simply isn’t true. We already have several examples of AI evolving like Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, never mind the thousands of start-ups creating chatbots for us to engage with. Even SAP has CoPilot, another example of an AI assistant. There will be many, more sophisticated AI that evolve and unfold over time, and who knows, a handful of “Super Artificial Intelligences,” but there will never be a ‘Skynet’ overlord.

Why should we fear a world filled with different types of AI when we share a world with different types of human?

In this TED Talk I explore what artificial intelligence means, how far we really have come so far in our goals to create true AI, and what the impact of a super intelligence could mean for the definition of our own humanity.

Theo Priestley is an SAP S/4HANA Cloud Global Evangelist.

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