Technology The knowledge economy is dead. Long live the...

The knowledge economy is dead. Long live the intuitive economy


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The simultaneous excitement and fear surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) is truly remarkable.

On the one hand, companies and investors are pouring billions into the technology, and interest has been growing since Microsoft-backed OpenAI publicly released conversational chatbot ChatGPT in November, which many are calling a tipping point for AI. “Generative AI will change business models and the way work gets done, reinventing entire industries in the process,” said a recent PwC report declared.

On the other hand, there is controversy. In May, AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton warned that AI could pose a “more pressing” threat than climate change. A month earlier, billionaire Elon Musk and hundreds of others published a open letter calling for a six-month break for advanced AI work, citing “serious risks to society and humanity”. And on May 16, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman told a Senate committee that he favors creating a new government agency to license large-scale AI models.

Wow! Let’s take a breather. Sure, AI systems are getting smarter at a dizzying rate – able to understand not just text but images, rival humans in common tasks, and even, as some suggest, begin to approach true intelligence on a human level. As a society, we should be very concerned about where AI is going and, of course, make sure the technology is safe before deploying it.


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While some of the fears surrounding AI are understandable, the discussion needs to be rational rather than hysterical at the same time. Sometimes it feels like the world is slipping into the latter.

The non-profit, nonpartisan Center for Data Innovation put it right in a recent report: “Technology and human creativity have long been intertwined, and the fear of the negative impact of new innovations has been exaggerated in the past. Previous innovations in the music sector, for example, led to fears that record albums would make live shows obsolete.” But “over time, this and other technical panics fizzled out as the public embraced the new technology, markets adapted, and initial concerns clearly proved overblown or never materialized.”

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I suspect the same will happen with AI. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think hard about the technology’s impact. We just have to be sensible when examining the trajectory of AI and how it will really make a difference in society and the economy. Here are three things that I think are true, but are often lost in today’s debate.

AI will promote an “intuition economy”.

Generative AI, which can produce complex content such as text, images and audio, has fueled fears that AI is taking over the human creativity that separates us from machines.

But there is another way to look at the effect of generative AI. As Bill Gates recently described it blog post“As computing power gets cheaper, GPT’s ability to express ideas will become more and more like having a servant available to help you with various tasks.”

In other words, AI will help bring all the world’s knowledge within everyone’s reach. For example, an attorney doesn’t need a team of fellow attorneys and paralegals to conduct all sorts of research before arguing a major case before a jury if the entire wealth of information is easily accessible through an AI assistant.

Think of it as a collapse of the knowledge gap. And what it means, I believe, is that, with knowledge commercialized and democratized, we will enter an “intuition economy” where human creativity will be valued more than ever.

For so-called knowledge workers, success will not only come from acquiring and expressing knowledge – as AI will increasingly take over that role – but also from using this now widely available knowledge for new insights, innovations and discoveries.

Another way to look at it: AI will never replace humans, as the doomsayers fear, but as AI systems become more intelligent, they will force humans to become smarter and more creative as well. The value of pure knowledge is diminishing; the importance of what is done with that knowledge is increasing.

Businesses and people who cannot adapt fall behind

Goldman Sachs recently predicted that generative AI could “expose the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs to automation worldwide.” But, the report added, “worker displacement from automation has historically been offset by job creation, and the emergence of new occupations driven by technological innovations accounts for the vast majority of long-term employment growth. term.”

I expect something similar to happen in the new AI world. With knowledge smoothed out as I described in point #1, the most successful people and companies will be those who are able to connect the dots between different information streams.

In general, major innovations from now on will take place in the “unknown world”, that is, through insights gained thanks to AI’s ability to streamline and accelerate knowledge gathering, while humans focus on unraveling previously indecipherable mysteries.

In a sense, what is happening reflects the software industry’s historic transformation to an open source model where the underlying code is freely available and companies compete based on the value they build on it. AI will be to knowledge what open source has been to software: all that matters is the proprietary value developed on top of commercialized knowledge.

That’s why I’m betting that AI will lead to more innovation and productivity in business and society in general.

AI is an unstoppable train

We live in an era of acceleration. Remember that the agricultural economy lasted thousands of years, the industrial economy a few hundred years, and the knowledge economy about 50 years.

Or remember Microsoft took 25 years to become a household name, Google less than half, and ChatGPT a few months.

Technology only moves in one direction: forward. While we would be wise to evaluate the impact of AI and, if necessary, consider guardrails for its development, the cat is out of the bag when it comes to artificial intelligence. That’s just the reality.

It will be impossible to stop this technology and extremely difficult to slow it down – there are too many benefits, not to mention too much money to be made – so the smartest thing you can do is ask the right questions about AI, reasonably, without panic, and prepare for the inevitable AI-driven future.

Bipul Sinha is the CEO and co-founder of the zero-trust data security company rubric.

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