The Various Implications of Artificial Intelligence On Society




This article was written by Ave New, a Financial Analyst at I Know First. He graduated from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Business, Majoring in Marketing. 

Implications of Artificial Intelligence

 Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think AI will transform in the next several years.” – Andrew Ng.


  • Implications of Artificial Intelligence
  • Black Mirror, is that where we’re headed?
  • Adapting Artificial Intelligence to Business
  • Utilizing Artificial Intelligence in Business
  • Conclusion – don’t fight the revolution

The implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is seemingly endless. Our future depends entirely on how society will adopt and adapt.

Throughout history, we’ve seen industrial revolutions occur. The first industrial revolution used water and steam to mechanize production. The second used electric power to create mass production. The third, electronics and IT to automate production. Now a fourth revolution is building, whereby the use of new technologies and AI threaten to transform entire industries and sectors.

As civilization stands on the verge of this fourth revolution, one of the main reservations surrounding AI is large-scale unemployment and job displacement. With more niches filled by technology particularly in service based industries, the question begs whether we’ll be able to create new jobs. AI technology will likely be able to handle most routine work; therefore the challenge will be education.

The fear associated with artificial intelligence is that it will be too smart and surpass humanity. Andrew Ng, Co-founder of Courcera and Standford Professor sees it differently. “Despite all the excitement and hype about AI it’s still extremely limited today relative to what human intelligence is.” Society needs to stay ahead by educating itself on the limitations and capabilities of artificial intelligence.

Black Mirror, is that where we’re headed?

Artificial Intelligence will be present in various forms. An endless window of possibility presents with the fast rate technology and society advances. There is a British science-fiction TV show I came across called Black Mirror. Created by Charlie Brooker, Black Mirror explores all the unanticipated consequences of new technologies in society. Every episode is another alternative reality, dictated by deep learning technology and artificial intelligence. One episode that stands out, is the first of season two.

“Be Right Back” introduces Martha and Ash, a young couple that move to a remote house in the country side. Ash is killed in a car accident, leaving an unknown-pregnant Martha behind. In the aftermath, Martha reluctantly signs up for an online service that allows people to stay in touch with the deceased. Martha must upload all of Ash’s past online history, including his social media profiles and communications, after which a virtual “Ash” (AI Ash) is created. Martha’s reluctance turns to reliance as she moves from instant messaging to over-the-phone chatter. AI Ash is uploaded with photos and videos to most accurately replicate Ash. One day the service is down and Martha cannot deal with the lack of communication from AI Ash. After the system is rebooted AI Ash informs Martha of a beta alternative; a body made of synthetic flesh that its program can be uploaded onto.

A human-size box arrives and after instruction, an android that looks identical to the real Ash is created. The rest of the episode depicts the discomfort Martha feels when interacting with AI Ash, now in human form. Frustration builds for Martha, as it becomes apparent this humanoid is not capable of doing anything on its own without instructions. Martha reaches boiling point, taking AI Ash to a cliff and instructing it to jump. After gauging what’s happening, AI Ash begs for its life. The episode cuts to several years later where a little girl is running around the country house. It becomes clear that AI Ash has been living albeit locked, in the attic. Martha allows her daughter to interact with AI Ash on weekends. But when the girl’s birthday comes around, she begs her mother for a visit up into the attic. Reluctantly, Martha succumbs. Despite AI Ash not being real, Martha cannot seem to let go of this robot, whom has become an integral part of her daughter’s life.

Adapting AI to Business and levelling the playing field

Almost anything a human can do with minimal thought, can be replicated with AI. Unlike traditional computing, which delivers precise solutions with defined parameters AI teaches itself how to solve problems. AI programming delivers millions of solutions and calculates the most efficient and viable one to use.

In an interview on October 10th, 2016, Co-founder of I Know First, Dr. Lipa Roitman, spoke about the use of AI in business today and its practical applications. “Firms that want to understand their customers’ ‘actual’ wants and needs…use big data technology to figure it out.” To get that competitive advantage, firms are utilizing large amounts of data that consumers produce when surfing online. This data is used in several ways. For example: pure advertising purposes, to reach target audiences or to lure consumers into purchasing additional products with ‘other suggested items’.

In the past, finding your target audience was not only labor intensive but also time-consuming. Today, AI has changed that. Gone are the days where identifying your target market consists of manually sifting through hours of demographic, psycho-graphic and geographic data. Mass amounts of unstructured multimedia floating around in a cloud, combined with low-cost high-powered computing, enables AI to do all the work. AI in business will no longer be a competitive advantage, rather a levelling of the playing field.

Utilizing AI in Business to match the giants

I Know First first developed an algorithm based on AI and machine learning in 2011. The algorithm is adaptable and scalable and features a Decision Support System (DSS). The algorithm incorporates elements of artificial neural networks and genetic algorithms through which it analyses, models and predicts the stock market as well as currencies, EFT’s and other world indices. For a video link of an in-depth presentation, click here.

The tech giants of the world such as Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (APPL), Microsoft (MFST) and Google (GOOGL) are all integrating AI into their product offerings.

Among the most notable examples of AI in business today is Amazon with the use of their ‘just walk out technology’. Defying critics of the technology’s timeline in use, Amazon launched ‘Amazon Go’. The premise of the technology; Customers use their Amazon Go App to enter the brick and mortar store, pick items up off the shelf and proceed to walk out of the store. No lines, no checkouts and no register. Using computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning. The technology detects when items are taken from or returned to the shelves, creating a virtual shopping cart. Once the customer has left the store, they receive a receipt of purchase for the items they took. The recent acquisition of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion is expected to strengthen Amazon’s ploy in the grocery space.

Another tech giant who’s incorporated the use of AI in their product offering is Facebook. Most recently, FB spoke about the AI programs it uses to deter and remove terrorist propaganda online. If someone tries to upload a terrorist photo or video, the system looks for whether the image matches a known terrorism photo or video. Facebook are also in the early stages of testing AI to detect language and text that advocates for terrorism. Facebook has been using ‘M’ it’s AI assistant in its messaging platform for some time. The latest update allows for suggestions from M to appear when it recognizes intent in a conversation. An example would be making a plan to meet somewhere. M suggests “get a ride” and provides a shortcut to either Uber or Lyft.

Conclusion – don’t fight the revolution

Artificial intelligence already affects our lives.  Although AI has not fully been integrated into society, the music we listen to, the online stores we visit and the ads we watch are all targeted to us as individuals. Artificial Intelligence monitors text conversations in order to assist us in our every-day lives. Research firm IDC predicts AI will help drive worldwide revenues to over $47 billion by 2020, more than five times the current $8 billion in 2016. There’s no point fighting this revolution, we must educate ourselves and take the best advice from an old Scottish proverb, ‘Better bend than break.’

(Check out Amazon Go in practice)