After “Mobile first”, we now have “AI first” – no subject is occupying the attention of tech company managers as much as artificial intelligence (AI). People have widely varying views on the subject too: is it a curse, or a blessing, or both?
Supporters regard artificial intelligence as the last invention of humankind that will solve the existential problems of the 21st century and bring all-encompassing prosperity. Critics, however, fear a Pandora’s box that, once opened, can no longer be closed and whose irrepressible development threatens the human race.
This kind of omnipotent superintelligence is still a few years off. Until that time comes, we can observe the achievements of so-called “weak AI”. It automatically completes our search queries, makes spam disappear from our inboxes and regulates our thermostat independently. Artificial intelligence now helps out with complex logistics problems, draws up diagnoses and will, in the near future, autonomously guide our cars through the traffic.
However, our mental capacities threaten to be rendered economically useless by the second wave of the automation process. This raises a whole host of social and political questions, and is also a core element in the discussion about a universal basic income. Even more important than the financial aspect is the question on how we humans will find self-fulfilment once machines become superior to us in all disciplines.