Par Chadha is the founder, CEO, and CIO of Santa Monica, California-based HGM Fund, a family office. Chadha also serves as chairman of Irving, Texas-based Exela Technologies, a business process automation (BPA) company, and is the co-founder of Santa Monica, California-based Rule 14, a data-mining platform. He holds and manages investments in the evolving financial technology, health technology, and communications industries.
Intelligence evolution is nothing new. These days, it’s just taking on a more electronic form. Some innovations seem to appear overnight, while others take decades to perfect. When it comes to the topic of artificial intelligence (AI), most people are probably content to take it slow, as the possibilities are exciting but admittedly a bit scary at times.
However, AI is going to continue to do worlds of good. Peaceful deployment of this technology saves lives, eases burdens, and takes on tasks that can be dangerous for humans — not to mention, it brings loads of added convenience. Doesn’t everyone want a robot to bring them a beer during the game, so they don’t have to miss the action? We already know the value of Siri and Alexa to enable us to keep our lives organized, hands-free.
“Star Trek” first introduced us to the idea that a robot could be capable of performing a medical exam before the doctor comes in to see you. Robot-assisted surgery has already arrived and appears to be here to stay, making some procedures less invasive and less prone to error.
Robots that perform repetitive functions will continue to advance and become more regular fixtures in our work and home lives. Tasks like shopping, cleaning, and mail delivery are already becoming automated.
Anything powerful must be reckoned with
There’s no question that AI is powerful. And when it’s used for good, it’s a beautiful tool. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to keep powerful things out of the hands of the bad guys. So some of these incredible tools, like exoskeletons for soldiers, will also make more formidable enemies.
The discovery of DNA a century ago was transformative to our understanding of human biology. It took us a hundred years to get to the point where we could edit DNA, but what’s next? CRISPR has the potential to provide healing to millions of people, but the possibilities of DNA editing are about as vast as your imagination can go. “Attack of the Clones” no longer seems so far off.
The fears people experience about AI are significant: What if I lose my job? My livelihood? Is there a place for me in this future? AI is even beginning to break the order in some families, because the people of the younger generation working in knowledge-based jobs are already making more money than their parents did. So how do we adapt to and embrace this exciting yet possibly frightening future?
1. Ease your way in
We have to stay flexible. With reskilling, all of us should be increasingly confident that AI may change our jobs but won’t render us unemployable. I have had to reinvent myself each decade since 1977 — sometimes more than once. But I’ve always found success, despite the challenges this brings, and the process has always been fulfilling.
Start with what is least offensive and difficult to acclimate to as you’re making peace with the future. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the change, try creating smaller and more manageable goals when it comes to your technology adoption. Enlist the help of a younger person who may have an easier time adapting to these changes.
2. Find a new way to take pride in your work
We will likely lose the satisfaction we get from mowing our own lawn and many other tasks in the near future. We will have to find peace, fulfillment, pride, and happiness through other activities. This isn’t something to mourn. It’s something to get creative about. Consider the possibilities rather than dwelling on fear of the future.
Time is not likely to begin marching in the opposite direction, and technology doesn’t often work backward. We can choose to live in fear, or we can choose to embrace the future, counting our blessings for how these innovations will improve our lives and expand our horizons.
3. Move cautiously
The worrisome aspect of AI is that if we can conceptualize it, we are likely to attempt it. We will need to continue to engage in conversations of ethics to ensure we stay focused on the right things: those that protect, aid, and bring value to human life.
Technology will only continue to evolve, and AI will be a part of everyone’s daily lives even more so than it is now. The change is inevitable. However, as with all change, we must be prepared to adapt to it. While we need to be cautious of how we use AI, the fact is that it’s a blessing, not a curse. Adapting to AI will be a lot less painful if we embrace it, ease into the new world it will bring, and understand that this technology will open more doors for humanity than it will close.