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Will AI make or break the ICT industry?

AI is a powerful resource but carries several potential risks 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be ‘in fashion’. From board rooms to blogs, it is frequently found at the top of agendas. The “100 Most Influential People in AI” were recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine. As part of its recent 25th anniversary celebrations Google looked back at its ten biggest AI moments, from auto-correct of spellings in 2001 to the development of PaLM2 in 2023 (a large language model used in many Google products).

AI is part of the Information and Computer Technology (ICT) industry. Most analysts predict that electronics and computer boards will be one of the world’s fastest growing sectors over the coming years, thanks in large part to the advances made for and by AI.

What is the AI hype all about? Does it deserve its powerful reputation?

Businesses are increasingly using AI to enhance their operations and gain competitive advantage. This isn’t particularly new. Afterall, even consumers have been using AI-driven technology in applications such as digital maps or personal assistants for years.

What is new, and possibly behind much of the hype, is the big leap forward made by Generative AI. Gen AI is capable of creating new creative content and is behind innovations such as ChatGPT and DALL-E. This presents a whole new world of opportunity for business. The World Economic Forum notes that the fastest growing employment sector is in AI and Machine Learning and estimates that by 2027 the proportion of jobs completed by machines versus humans will be 43% machine vs 57% human.

In fact, Artificial Intelligence as a Driving Force for the Economy and Society was included as one of the four main themes for discussion by the 100 governments from around the world that attended this year’s Davos Conference.

What are the risks associated with AI?

The Center for AI Safety points to four key areas of AI risk including malicious use, loss of control, accidents caused by AI and rogue AIs. Some of these are already in play, such as the example of the company facing reputational damage after its customer service chatbot used expletives, called itself “useless” and criticised its employer when responding to a customer query.

The US, China and the EU are currently exploring AI regulations, with voting on the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act timetabled for 2024. Non-compliance poses a risk, as does unilateral legislation where firms may choose to by-pass or ignore a territory to avoid the costs of compliance.

AI costs also present a massive risk to business. It is expensive to develop AI systems and development mistakes, such as algorithmic bias, may be even more costly still. AI’s hungry need for advanced semi-conductors also makes it vulnerable to geo-political risks, particularly as the majority are currently manufactured in Taiwan. The EU and US are currently racing to develop local capability, but they are still a long way behind.

My report Will AI Transform The Way We Do Business? looks at these risks and how AI and the ICT industry are inextricably linked. AI is a critical part of the ICT industry and an awareness of AI-associated risks will be important to the industry moving forward.


Download our "Will AI transform the way we do business?" report


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