Welcome to the new year. A fresh slate is exciting, and often prime for lists of resolutions and predictions for the year ahead.
However, experience has taught me that many resolutions quickly fall from our list of priorities while most predictions fall short or give way to the truth. Because of this, I ground predictions in what history has taught me and today’s reality. This year, I predict that technology innovations, particularly in artificial intelligence (AI), will become more integral and meaningful parts of our personal and professional lives than in years past.
Yet, I do sense something a bit different about the coming year, a sense of readiness among people from all walks of life to more fully embrace technologies that can and will improve our lives. There is a growing sense of hope and excitement, not just about the innovations themselves but how modern technologies can improve lives. For example, society has become more comfortable with the idea that AI and deep learning are partners for our futures — not threats to our way of life or our careers.
It has been a journey to reach this moment. After all, changing hearts and minds takes time, and often a lot of it.
Much of the trepidation over technologies like AI, which we will discuss at greater length in a coming post, is based on its potential impact on humans in the workforce. Nobody wants to see their family members, friends, or neighbors displaced by a machine.
However, in a year-end research report Gartner predicts that by 2020 AI will generate 2.3 million jobs, exceeding by 500,000 the 1.8 million it is expected to displace.
Gartner’s research director, Manjunath Bhat, highlights: “Robots are not here to take away our jobs, they’re here to give us a promotion.”
The Gartner report also says that the greatest AI benefit is “AI augmentation — a combination of human and AI, where both complement each other.”
I agree. In our work with physicians, we see how AI-powered tools augment human intelligence every day. These AI-powered tools work because of the human operating the screen or the microphone – not despite them.
As Woojin Kim, MD, said recently at the RSNA annual conference, AI in radiology is aiding with routine tasks so radiologists can better focus on making a diagnosis. “We can take a greater role in relating with patients and spend more time explaining, counseling, teaching, and making discoveries.”
While my one realistic prediction is that technology innovations will play an increasingly important part of our personal and professional lives, my hope for this year is that we embrace the potential of AI to complement each other and our surrounding technologies.