According to experts from MIT we are now seeing the rise of cognitive computers & artificial intelligence that can ‘think’ like a person. This briefing looks at what machine intelligence means for society. Humans and machines have different things to offer the world but how easy is this to distinguish? It would seem that long as we stay a step ahead and recognise where problems may arise then there are many reasons to be excited about the future.

From a risk perspective, business leaders and board members should have the rapid rise of technology firmly “on the radar”.  They should be asking questions, such as how, when and why these disruptive technologies may affect their business, and what the business needs to do in preparation.


Machine Intelligence vs Humans

Team up: Andrew McAfee is the Principle Research Scientist at MIT Center for Digital Business. He says that whilst machine intelligence always starts out being laughably bad, it doesn’t take long for it to improve to a point where it can beat humans in competition. Computer chess programmes are a good example of this. He says that combining computer and human intelligence in a team, and recognising where each team member excels, is the way forward.

Know your advantage: According to Greame Codrington, Futurist, TomorrowToday, there are some thought processes that analysis programmes are not able to replicate. One surprised father found out his 16 year old daughter was pregnant when a computer programme sent her vouchers based on previous purchases that indicated she was having a baby. A human being would have realised the problems with sending these vouchers but a computer couldn’t.

Follow the rules: Prof. Ian Goldin, Director, University of Oxford says that technology can be both and enabler and major a problem for society. If new technology is distributed unfairly, or is only owned by powerful people then it would increase gaps in society. Technology always has multiple uses and this must be regulated carefully to ensure it is used in a positive way.

Stay positive: Andrew McAfee, Principle Research Scientist, MIT Center for Digital Business recently released his book The Second Machine Age, which looks positively at the potential for innovative digital technologies to improve our world. He admits that while machine intelligence will make many things easier, it will affect the ways in which people can earn a living. But he believes that if we are aware of these challenges we can overcome them.

This is a guest post by Mark Sinclair, founder of  These videos are kindly provided by Inside Finance TV and channel partner Smith & Williamson.

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