How Advanced Cognitive Artificial Intelligence will Add Trillions to Global Wealth
This is an excerpt from my latest book the Artificial Superintelligence Handbook III which is the third book in the ASIH Series on Amazon about Artificial General Intelligence, Artificial General Cognition, Cognitive Artificial General Intelligence, AI Development and a peek at the Superintelligence roadmap with DCAGI. Thank you to all who follow and are inspired to reach for the singularity.
by Rob Smith eXacognition
There is one truth in Artificial Intelligence design and development. There are lots of good coders and researchers but a huge gap between the development talent pool and financially viable commercial products. Most of what our lab builds in Cognitive Artificial Intelligence is not immediately commercially viable. This is not because it has no value but because the timeline in the private sector between the investment necessary to build the technology and the return on that investment is too long given much faster alternative ways to turn a profit in the short term. We need to periodically branch products from the roadmap that are likely to be profitable and that is a complex decision but the time value of money causes it to always flow toward the most profitable instead of the most innovative. As such, only the very largest organizations and governments can afford the extreme cutting edge of Artificial General Intelligence research and development for now. However change is on the horizon and it will launch a brand new economic revolution of greater benefit than the change brought on by the industrial revolution (ya that one) and all the economic revolutions before it. This new economic, or ‘technological revolution’, like the previous economic revolutions will also change our world forever.
Haters will immediately call this view a fanciful prognostication without evidence but so was the initial commentary and criticism at the birth of steam power, electricity, cars, computers, the internet and that whole ‘the world is not flat’ thing. Humans naturally fear change and desire the warmth and security of consistency. All past economic revolutions significantly altered the fabric of our world and ushered in massive growth and change unseen prior to the introduction of the disruptive technologies and methods created by innovators and risk takers. At the top of these spurts in growth and innovation were those who became wealthy from being in the right place at the right time and who possessed the drive, capital and vision to achieve and overcome the obstacles to profitable commercialization of new technology. Names like Vanderbilt, Rothschild, Edison, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and more recently Gates and Bezos, all took advantage of new technology and vision to grasp that giant golden ring of change and innovation to become the wealthiest of their time. They did this by ignoring convention and the haters and relentlessly pushing forward. Today, advanced Artificial Intelligence is set to once again change our world forever with a new revolution and to the brave will go the rewards. If you don’t believe us, just look at how much Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are betting on advanced research.
Capturing the Future
There is a vast difference between creating a great piece of technology and making money with it. Nikola Tesla is the poster boy of genius ideas not financially fulfilled. Today many on the fringe of advanced AI development face the same uphill battle Tesla faced to bring new technologies to market given the vast amount of resources needed to design, develop and deliver reliable and valuable innovation to the market at a reasonable cost. Innovators also need to overcoming the pushback from the naysayers and those who themselves seek to exclusively own and control the methods of production and the market. All organizations at one time struggled with this reality even Google, Amazon, Facebook and Tesla. However that is not to say that these companies are not making money. All make billions in ‘value’ from their developments and innovations but not all of their developments and innovations. Business in advanced technology is a ‘net positive’ sum game over the long haul. Some innovations fail, some are simply too far ahead of their time, some are the foundations for future growth and others succeed beyond all expectations with little or no warning, leaving a trail of billionaires in their wake.
For now the profits in advanced AI are small compared to the massive profits in search, online videos, ecommerce and content but very soon Artificial Intelligence will become a trillion dollar industry as greater efficiencies and new technologies move from inside the small labs on the fringe of advanced AI development and spread out into our everyday lives residing inside everything from self driving vehicles, to our phones, to all the electronic devices in our homes and businesses. As AI tech spreads deeper into organizations, all will adapt to this new world driven by the necessity to survive in a new economic landscape and as their competitors embrace the technology to attaining greater efficiency, productivity and lower cost of operations. The multi trillion dollar AI industry is about to take off in a big way whether we want it to or not.
Human history is littered with advancements and innovations in technology and periodically these changes have had such an impact as to be revolutionary. The most well known of these periods of immense change is the industrial revolution of the 19th century. This period of growth and change was spurred by a number of key technological innovations in the world at the time, including the production of ‘labor saving machines’ such as looms to produce cloth, steam engines, new factory production methods and later, the introduction of electricity to run those machines. These changes were less about the introduction of technology as they were about the introduction of productivity. Making, producing and shipping things faster with less effort reduces cost and increases profit. If you look at any pre 1800 images, you will see people in horse drawn carriages, making things by hand in a primarily agricultural society. With the introduction of the technologies of the industrial revolution, everything began to change as people moved away from rural settings to rapidly growing cities to obtain new industrial employment and that migration fueled a massive increase in the economic growth of the time period that continues to this day.
However humans have had periods of revolutionary advancement before. The first was probably the ability to make fire at will followed by simple tools and weapons. This would have coincided with our move to communal living near other humans as a form of protection and survival. Communities proved to be more efficient from an evolutionary perspective as a better way to survive the rigors of day to day living especially when times were hard. They were simply a more productive way to live life. It was more effective and efficient to share production than to self produce everything you needed to survive and thrive. Another significant societal jump start was the move to commerce. The ability to produce something and then sell the surplus to others in trade so you could buy the things you didn’t have or couldn’t produce was another giant revolutionary leap in our survival. Suddenly the ability to specialize helped foster greater productivity and efficiency in production methods even in older, well established industries like agriculture (good farmers thrived and stone masons constructed grand buildings from the proceeds). It also began the long road of erosion in the need for very close communal ties as individuals began to reach for innovation and their own personal economic revolution beyond the community.
Today we still innovate technology driven by our individual goals of survival and achievement. We create new products or methods in the hope of selling our innovations to others in exchange for wages or profits. The last few decades have seen an explosion in new digital technology with the primary engines being personal computers, the internet and cell phones. They have caused fundamental shifts in the foundation of our society. Some of these shifts have been beneficial and others clearly not but all of these innovations have added to our ability to reduce the amount of personal resources required to perform the day to day activities of life, such as procuring items or information. We no longer need to go answer a phone because we carry it with us. We no longer need to go look up things in a library or attend a school to learn something, we just open our phone and perform a search. We no longer need to hand write things into ledgers as our computers track and transmit transactions and communications around the world instantly, automatically and far more efficiently than any human. Once again we humans have stumbled into a productivity revolution powered by new technology and we rest on the cusp of an even larger one driven by artificial cognition and robotic methods. This one however will free our minds to become more productive.
The Trillion Dollar Market
It is estimated that the market for Artificial Intelligence will be over $500 Billion in just a few years as governments and corporations began to implement new AI technologies to achieve significantly greater productivity, lower costs and higher profits. By the end of the decade, it is expected that this number will grow to over $1Trillion annually. However the success of any economic revolution to increase the overall wealth and well being of an entire society rests on the ability of technological advancement to significantly increase productivity and efficiency across the entire economy while at the same time creating new jobs and wealth for the general public in new industries. This is doubly important since we humans are now more cognitively aware of the environmental impact of our unbridled growth in population and the impact that past industrial revolutions have had on the earth.
Of course today’s technological revolution is no less destructive given the vast growing demand for power generation, new constantly updated plastic devices and the vast stripping of the earth’s resources to fuel this growth for everything from displays, to batteries, to giant power guzzling server farms and constantly recharging devices. It has also caused the loss of millions of jobs and the undermining of wages that have fueled a vast and growing wealth disparity. However, the movement forward in our world will not be stopped and the best outcome we can hope for is that we find a way forward that is more sustainable within an array of new industries. The AI revolution will also be significantly faster as machines learn and adapt by themselves at a far faster rate than humans did in prior economic revolutions.
The truth about these past spurts of growth and increases in wealth is that these periods of massive change were only partially fueled by increasing productivity. If productivity is the only variable in a societal change, then productivity by itself does not improve the broad wealth of the economy, except of course for the owners of the methods of production. This can have disastrous effects on the overall wealth of an economy especially if the productivity is moved outside of the economy (i.e. to other economic jurisdictions) or concentrated in the hands of the few. To truly improve the overall wealth of a society during a growth in productivity as a result of technological innovation requires an appropriate offset in other innovation (i.e. new industries) and the spreading of wealth throughout the economy to facilitate overall economic growth. For example the devastating impact of the introduction of cars on carriage manufacturing was eventually more than offset by a corresponding growth in the production of automobiles, as well as new innovations that spread the wealth to everything from road construction & traffic light manufacturing to gas stations, roadside diners, traffic police and parking officers. This greatly expanded and spread the overall economic benefit to produce a net beneficial economic change over time.
The same thing applies to the Artificial Intelligence Revolution. While many will lose jobs in areas such as accounting, finance, HR, teaching, coding, driving, etc., new jobs will grow in robot manufacturing, repair and servicing and applications of the technology in self driving vehicles, drones, sensory IoT devices and the growth of entirely new industries. Even the immense amount of power needed to run these new AI infused industries will lead to greater work in areas such as sustainability research and new innovations like transformative technologies and clean carbon energy. These innovations will culminate in even greater research, new products and new commercial endeavors to fuel a growing commercial space industry and all of these changes are already underway.
This is also where advanced Artificial Intelligence combined with rethinking the way we work can have a vast positive impact on our world (i.e. greater sustainability). Moving away from the necessity of wastefully commuting long distances to and from work and school or living in highly congested and unhealthy cities and toward a world where humans are more spread out and live more sustainable lives will be facilitated by AI systems disrupting the need to live and work in ever more condensed spaces. Currently it is astounding the amount of resources wasted and pollution created by billions of people traveling daily to work or school solely to occupy constantly air conditioned buildings (in addition to their own empty homes) in such a technologically advanced world when we do not need to do so. Using these resources on powering growth and sustainability in our own neighborhoods instead of traveling vast distances to work and school would be earth changing in everything from reduced pollution to reduced road and infrastructure repair.
We humans can already see the benefits and threats of AI technology to our existing world. Like the buggy manufacturers prior to Ford’s Model T revolution, jobs will be lost and people will suffer from these losses but the world can change with less trauma if we manage the change with intelligence and foresight. If we lever the power of Artificial Intelligence appropriately, a new economic revolution of change will succeed in improving the entire world but only if we choose to make the correct decisions and do so with openness and honesty. Of course that has always been the weak spot of any revolution.
The 19th century industrial revolution changed our world in both good and bad ways. Humans needed to rely less on growing our own food while gaining wealth and security and sparking even greater innovation. At the same time, humans greatly increased the amount of pollution produced, encouraged vast unsustainable population growth, tore apart families and communities with migration and escalated the depletion of our natural resources thereby speeding up our own demise. Today’s AI revolution swings the same double edge sword of changing the world for the better while increasing the negative impact on our existence, including potentially increasing populations, pollution, inhuman urban congestion, wealth disparity and the demise of our resources that ultimately threaten our survival. Regardless of the impact, the AI revolution will also add trillions of dollars to global wealth and our economies and will do so in a relatively short period of time just like past revolutions.
High Growth for AI in New Areas
There are some specific areas that will be significantly impacted by the use of advanced Artificial Intelligence in the coming decade. The level of advancement will directly affect our willingness to accept the new technology and for our society to make the choice to embrace real change. This has not always been part of every economic revolution. Humans fear change and will only accept it if it is clearly beneficial to their lives or it is forced upon them without their input or approval. We accept change if our fear of falling behind others in the game of survival is acute. This is how we evolve as a species. We do not willingly change, we jump on the bandwagon when it is too obvious that our failure to do so runs contrary to our life goals. AI will succeed when it is implemented by those with vision and when they succeed or when the rest of us fear that not accepting AI will leave us struggling to survive. When this occurs, we will demand change.
This new growth and opportunity in the coming decade will expand in very specific areas and in very specific ways. Our detailed position analysis for these areas in the next ten years that we are providing to our clients is contained in the Artificial Superintelligence Handbook III on Amazon.
The Move to AI
Companies like Amazon and Google have been heavily investing in AI research to develop new tech that they are keenly aware will eventually add to their bottom line profit but the real future benefits of AI lies in delivering it to the masses to change our lives and the world forever. Some of this will come in the form of commercial tech, like the behind the scenes systems we use everyday to shop or peruse social media. Some of it will impact our lives without us knowing like robo resume readers currently used to select talent or the Fintech systems that run today’s banks. Right now, very little AI tech is making its way directly into the hands of average everyday people and only in limited ways. However, the future will be full of AI in all areas of our lives and the industry will in our lifetimes, grow to be worth many trillions of dollars.
To get there, AI developers need to bridge the gap between the market and development and this requires a different set of skills and intelligence than coding, as well as a healthy dose of vision and creativity. It also requires a fundamental understanding of balance, most importantly the balance between profit and loss. Most, if not all, AI companies today lose money. This is because the commercial market for ‘AI products’ is simply not robust enough at this time but it will be shortly. Nothing drives a market more than competition and while your company leaders may yawn when AI is mentioned, across the street the competition is investing in AI research and new products. Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech companies so clearly see the power and benefit of AI that they are investing billions and even stale old companies like BMW, Volkswagon, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes, global banks and governments are all rapidly moving into AI research to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Some AI companies, such as ours, routinely complete contracts for organizations interested in establishing virtual AI labs that operate across the world and who are attracting the best AI talent regardless of where they are located. However the competition for such talent is rising fast. This is partly due to the complex nature of advanced AI and partly due to the lack of fast, relevant AI expertise in post secondary schools. This double edged sword of unskilled old tenured profs in a field that is moving at light speed is causing many organizations to ‘unplug’ the traditional pipeline of college educated students in favor of onsite mentored AI training in highly agile development teams. The goal is no longer to get the AI teams up and running over a few months or years, the goal is to get the AI teams delivering valuable products and innovations now.
On the government side, countries like China are sinking billions into AI and innovation research in all areas. The desire to beat the US at its own technological game has never been greater and this reality was at one time driving the US to at least consider ramping up their AI game, however this seems to have subsided. To offset this growing innovation vacuum, new players are entering the market including Israel, India and wealthy countries along the Arabian gulf who are keenly interested in establishing a foothold in advanced research and technology as a means of financial survival and growth. As it stands currently thanks to a massive head start, the USA will lead the world in AI innovation for the next few years but this will slowly shift as the decade progresses and China takes over the commercial AI reigns. It is clear China is already hyper focused on this goal and it is clear that they will continue to invest in the technology to stay one step ahead of their global rivals.
Of course China will not just be using the tech to undermine other countries, they will use the tech to vastly improve their own productivity and innovation and that will give rise to new industries and wealth for the Chinese people at the expense of Europe and the US. China’s laser like global domination focus and unlimited capital will drive the country forward and will continue to do so for the rest of the decade. If other countries like the US do not regain control over their domestic situation, then China will easily leapfrog over the US in AI research and benefit. This will include domination over many facets of our economies such as finance, medicine, battery production, green technology, autonomous vehicles, military, space research, social media and a host of other areas where AI is becoming essential to survival. What we are seeing is that China is becoming nimble, backed by their global clout and willingness to try and driven by their desire to succeed. They are building an AI silk road around the world.
One certain truth is that in the coming decade, AI technology will be a trillion dollar boost to those who grab the golden ring first and lever the technology to create greater wealth, power, sustainability and happiness. However the greatest benefit will come from freeing the human mind of the drudgery of searching for and implementing information. The Artificial Intelligence Revolution will make our minds more productive and this will have an evolutionary impact on our cognition. The AI revolution will free our minds to concentrate our internal resources on far more challenging thoughts than ‘what do I need to buy at the grocery store’.
Artificial General Intelligence promises the greatest hope of recovering and growing the global economy and capitalizing on the greatest period of economic growth and prosperity ever in history. It also promises to change the world forever and push humans to a much higher level of cognition and evolution and it all starts now.
This article has been significantly condensed from the original content. The full article is included in the The Artificial Superintelligence Handbook III on Amazon.