A little while back I was asked by MSL to do an interview about AI and how the digital natives and millennials perceive this technology now and how they might in the future. MSL is an international organization that deals with communication in modern aspects.
It’s quite clear that I am not a spokesperson of a whole demographic group and it’s also clear that not everybody thinks the same even though they might be born as part of the same generation but I still hope that you might find the statements and thoughts interesting.
AI? What does that even mean?
MSL: First of all, how well do you think Millennials understand AI and how receptive are they to AI-driven technologies and services?
Christopher: I think all of us, not just Millennials, often misinterpret what AI is and is not. AI has become a bit of a buzzword slapped on products. Does it refer to an artificial entity that can think, grow and is self-aware, or is it a machine that can actually mimic natural cognitive functions such as learning and solving problems?
Because AI is still largely undefined and lacks scope, it’s tricky to truly understand. I believe personal AI assistants like Cortana from Microsoft, Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, the Google Assistant and other such services will do the pioneering work for AI-driven technologies. These essential user experiences, which Millennials are highly receptive to, will shape future interactions with all types of AI for the better.
Early adopters but critical customers
MSL: How do you think Millennials will engage with AI products and technologies differently from other demographic groups as consumers and in the workplace?
Christopher: Collectively, Millennials differ from other demographic groups in many ways, but I hesitate to put them into a drawer with respect to AI. As individuals, they have a wide range of feelings and opinions about products and technologies. I will say, however, that Millennials are more likely to interact with AI if they grew up in a household that embraced digital devices and the internet quite early in comparison to others.
If Millennials like and trust AI as consumers, they will very likely demand the same ease of solving problems in their work environments. From my point of view, Millennials will be the most active users of AI technologies and the most critical in questioning the systems.
AI can be both useful and dangerous
MSL: What are your biggest concerns about AI and how it will be used?
Christopher: While leveraging AI to advance the human race and protect our world is desirable, we must make sure the technology is equipped with rules. Humankind is controversial, to say the least.
A newly “born” entity that knows nothing but logic could consider humans not only irrelevant but even see us as threats to the existence of the planet and therefore a threat to the existence of AI.
Why do we even need CEOs if AI can make better decisions?
MSL: What are your top predictions of AI’s impact on business and industry?
Christopher: To name one example, Amazon played a crucial role in generating demand for product quality, customer service, and delivery speed. All of that combined to create a high comfort level users were not familiar with. Beyond tackling retail, Amazon put a lot of effort into raising the bar even further with things like Amazon Dash buttons or asking your Alexa AI assistant to order more cookies for you. These developments changed the way we consume.
AI has even more potential for disruption in business and industry. If a company uses AI to make decisions, why would they keep analysts and other knowledge workers around? What if AI can optimize team performance to a record high, why do they need managers? If robots already do a great job on all fronts, why keep workers? And most intriguingly, if AI always makes the right decisions and never sleeps, why do we need CEOs?
We could take this further and further until we’re talking about a dystopian future, but I really don’t feel that negative about it or think we should be too critical. When leveraging AI, one of the most important aspects is to not stop thinking on our own but to stay relevant and keep improving.
More Q&A from this interview
More questions and answers from this interview can be found on the full post on the MSL blog, which was published earlier this week.
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Photo credit: The feature image “not bound” was done by Josh Hild. The image “neon future” was done by Carson Arias. The image “hacker in cyberpunk” was done by Nahel Abdul Hadi. The image “streak of light” was done by Simon Zhu.