After AI: Predictions from the experts

By bedigital on June 22nd, 2023

Wow, what a series that was!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out our AI Series before reading the rest of this blog post (seriously, it’s worth it).

But, if you do know what I’m talking about, then you’ll understand my excitement.

The Tech Leaders Podcast’s latest series focused totally on AI, giving us an inside scoop into the technology that’s on everyone’s lips (and in everyone’s browser searches) straight from the experts themselves.

Not only was our host Gareth Davies joined by Professor Kerensa Jennings, Director of Data Platforms at BT, to co-host this series, but the pair were also met by other AI A-listers, including Priya Lakhani OBE (CENTURY Tech), Catriona Campbell (EY UK&I), Rodger Werkhoven (OpenAI), Alex Kendall (Wayve) and Sara El-Hanfy (Innovate UK).

Each interview gave a unique perspective on AI, covering topics from autonomous vehicles and education to ethical implications and the creative industry.

But there was one aspect that all 5 interviews had in common: uncertainty about what’s next.

Now we all love the ‘lack of a crystal ball’ analogy to describe the future— as did a lot of our guests— but when discussing what lies ahead for this revolutionary tech, responses seemed to have more of an ominous message than usual.

It’s no secret that AI is in its early stages of development and we’re all excitedly/ anxiously awaiting the next advancement in its trajectory to the top.

I’ve summarised some of the key predictions from our AI experts on what they think the future of artificial intelligence looks like, so that we can *try* and prepare ourselves for the next stage of the AI revolution: 1

Rallying regulation

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that regulation is a theme that crops up in every single episode of our AI series, as imagining an AI-driven world without it implies of a disastrous Ex Machina-type scenario.

Priya Lakhani reinforces the importance of “balancing AI with HI” when we’re to consider AI regulation, describing the necessity of a word that still values and prioritises humans as individuals even when faced with artificial counterparts.

Catriona Campbell shares her belief that generating an international AI policy is the only way to ensure that our individual privacy is respected and safeguarded in the upcoming months, as it will help to form a united global front against any threat of robot rebellion. 2

Job competition

It’s no secret that AI has made us a bit hot under the collar when it comes to our position in the workplace, leaving many of us wondering: will our jobs be snatched away by a pair of robotic hands?

According to Rodger Werkhoven, yes and no. Rodger predicts that AI models such as ChatGPT will replace many first-line support roles, due to its near faultless predictive response and it’s in-human ability to be ‘personable’ and polite 24/7. However, he also believes that AI will make a variety of roles more accessible to the masses; for example, a designer role that would previously require years of experience can now be fulfilled in a fraction of the time by using tools such as DALL.E 2.

Alex Kendall predicts that AI’s disruption of the labour market will be contained within a period of the next 30 years, meaning that there will be pressure to upskill a variety of generations within a relatively short period of time.

As Rodger says, ‘AI will not replace you, a person using AI will’. So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. 3

Defying extinction (?!)

In the series finale, Kerensa Jennings and Sara El-Hanfy debated the likelihood of ‘extinction by AI’, a concept that has made headlines recently due to both its fear-mongering severity and the fact that no-one is able to confidently disprove it…

However, Sara makes a point to draw attention away from a distant future and encourages us all to focus on how AI will affect all of us in nearer times. She believes that combatting “bias, job displacement, privacy and data protection” should be ranked the highest on our immediate priority list to prevent any future AI Armageddon.

Rodger Werkhoven succinctly adds that ‘Pandora’s box is now open’, so although we may not know what that entails right now, we must enjoy AI responsibly to safeguard our futures. 4

Now what?

So, I bet you can now understand my earlier choice in using the word ‘ominous’ to describe the future of AI.

But as much as it is nerve-racking, it is also very exciting.

With the help of AI, the list of what humankind can achieve is endless. Have a read of my previous blog ‘What the tech is AI?!’ to find out more about the developments that are happening right now due to the help of our artificial friend.

So, no, not even the AI experts have capability to peer into a crystal ball and forecast the future of AI. But, with their knowledge and guidance, we’re sure to be in safe hands.

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