The knowledge economy is dead. Long live the economy of intuition

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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, with interest accelerating since Microsoft-backed OpenAI released the conversational chatbot ChatGPT in November that many are calling a tipping point for the industry. ‘IA. “Generative AI will change business models and the way work is done and, in doing so, reinvent entire industries,” said a recent PwC report.

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

Phew! Let’s catch our breath for a moment. Certainly, artificial intelligence systems are getting smarter at a breakneck pace – able to understand not only text but also images, starting to compete with humans in general tasks and even, as some suggest, starting to approach true intelligence at the human level. As a society, we need to care about where AI is going and, of course, make sure the technology is safe before deploying it.


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At the same time, while some of the worries around AI are understandable, the discussion should be rational rather than hysterical. It sometimes feels like the world is slipping into the latter.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Data Innovation said it well in a recent report: “Technology and human creativity have long been intertwined, and fears about the negative impact of new innovations have been exaggerated in the pass. For example, past innovations in the music business raised concerns that record albums would make live broadcasts redundant. But “over time, this and other tech panics have faded as the public has embraced the new technology, markets have adapted, and initial concerns have proven to be clearly overblown or never materialized.”

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I suspect the same will happen with AI. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seriously think about the impact of technology. We should just be reasonable in looking at the trajectory of AI and how it will really make a difference to society and the economy. Here are three things that I believe to be true but often get lost in today’s debate.

AI will foster an “economy of intuition”

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

But there is another way to look at the effect of generative AI. As Bill Gates described in a recent blog post, “As computing power becomes cheaper, GPT’s ability to express ideas will be more and more like having a white-collar worker available to help you with various tasks. .”

In other words: AI will help bring all the knowledge in the world to everyone. For example, a lawyer won’t need a team of co-lawyers and paralegals to do all kinds of research before arguing an important case in front of a jury if all the wealth of information is easily accessible through an AI assistant.

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

For so-called knowledge workers, success will come not just from accumulating and expressing knowledge – as AI will increasingly take on this role – but also from harnessing that now widely available knowledge. for new ideas, innovations and discoveries.

Another way to look at it: AI will never replace humans, as the doomsayers fear, but as AI systems get smarter, they will force people to get smarter and more creative too . The value of pure knowledge diminishes; the importance of what is done with this knowledge increases.

Businesses and people who cannot adapt will fall behind

Goldman Sachs recently predicted that worldwide, generative AI “could expose the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs to automation.” But, adds its report, “the displacement of automation workers has always been offset by the creation of new jobs, and the emergence of new occupations as a result of technological innovations accounts for the vast majority of long-term job growth. term”.

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

Overall, significant innovations will now occur in the “unknown world,” i.e. through knowledge gained through AI’s ability to streamline and accelerate knowledge accumulation while humans focus on solving previously undecipherable mysteries.

In a way, what’s happening reflects the historic transformation of the software industry towards an open source model in which the underlying code is freely available and companies compete on the basis of the value they get for it. shoot. AI will be to knowledge what open source was to software: only the proprietary value developed above trivialized knowledge will count.

For this reason, my bet is on AI leading to greater innovation and productivity in business and society at large.

AI is an unstoppable train

We live in an era of acceleration. Consider that the agrarian economy lasted thousands of years, the industrial economy lasted a few hundred, and the knowledge economy lasted 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 are wise to assess the impact of AI and consider safeguards to its development if warranted, the cat is out of the bag on artificial intelligence. It is simply 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 to do is to ask the right questions about the AI, reasonably, without panic, and prepare us for the inevitable AI-driven future.

Bipul Sinha is CEO and co-founder of data security company Zero-Trust Rubrik.


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