The Upside of AI Accessibility Now and in the Future
AI is often misunderstood by those who lack education or training in the technology. This interview with Max Versace, CEO and co-founder, Neurala offers some new insights into the technology.
AI is certainly on the rise, despite some of the concerns some have expressed about it leading to doomsday scenarios or a devastating loss of jobs, as described in AI Attitudes: What the Experts Consider of Concern. There is no cause for concern insists Max Versace, CEO and co-founder of Neurala, who explains the benefits that AI offers now and in the future for improving workflows.
Is fear of AI holding businesses back from reaping its benefits now?
Fortunately not. In the 1970s, when computers were introduced in enterprises, there was an equally brief and illogical fear that they would take over from humans. The reality is that they augmented us, and the same will be true for AI, despite a few malicious attention-seeking critics spreading fears otherwise.
When it comes to AI and enterprises, many have already begun to implement AI as a part of their business and digital transformation strategy. In fact, about 80% of organizations are already using AI in some form. However, an overwhelming 91% of companies foresee significant barriers to AI adoption, such as a lack of IT infrastructure and a shortage of AI experts to guide the transition.
So, the problem is not fear of AI, rather a lack of education, training and tools preventing businesses from fully realizing the benefits of AI. That’s why there is a need to democratize AI across industries, so that anyone – not just engineers and data scientists – can build AI.
Think of it this way – we need a WordPress for AI: something that allows anyone to build AI, in that same way WordPress made website development accessible for all, without needing extensive expertise.
Only then will organizations be able to truly capitalize on the benefits of implementing AI into their workflows.
Is the fear grounded in actual threats or just the fear of the unknown due to the lack of transparency that makes AI appear to be a black box? Do you see that changing?
If you look at who is warning us about impending AI apocalypses, they are invariably AI outsiders that do not understand much about AI. As someone who has worked in the field both in academia and industry for a couple of decades, I see AI as a fantastic tool that can help make machines less dumb and more useful for us – augment productivity and help us re-allocate our time to more creative and critical tasks.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is a lack of accessibility and training around AI which has likely resulted in a lack of understanding. I think that if we can find a way to truly democratize AI, it will go a long way in terms of changing people’s opinions.
Take the manufacturing industry for example – there is a lot of fear that AI, robotics and automation will take people’s jobs. But this is not the case.
In fact, AI has the ability to augment the workforce, providing new opportunities.
For industrial product managers, one of the biggest challenges is quality control. Product managers struggle to inspect each individual product and component (no human can inspect hundreds of products coming out of an industrial machine every second!), while also meeting deadlines for massive orders.
Moreover, humans are notoriously bad at visual inspection tasks, so why not delegate these tasks to AI? This will free up time for workers who can now focus on other tasks rather than spending time doing visual quality control.