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Mike's Minute: Is AI really the future?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 May 2024, 10:15am

Mike's Minute: Is AI really the future?

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 May 2024, 10:15am

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, one industry seemingly not hit is that of the pollster. 

There are new numbers out this week on AI. 

AI is changing the world, upending the world, taking your job, re-organising your life... or it might do none of that. 

But according to PWC's first global AI jobs survey it will solve our productivity problem. 

This is good because this country is hopeless, and productivity has had any number of debates over the years about how to rev it up and all of them have failed. 

84% of the CEOs think it will increase efficiency, which by the way isn't exactly productivity. 70% think it will significantly change the way their companies create and deliver value. 

There is a 25% uplift in AI skill demand and 69% think most of their workforce need to develop new skills. 

In these results is the clue as to why despite all the change we have seen these past few decades, the big picture hasn’t really changed. 

Yes, in certain industries tech has changed life. But we still can't educate our kids properly, planes plummet in increasing turbulence, wars are still waged, and rage and we can still only find two old farts to run for the US presidency. 

For a group of global citizens on the cusp of so much, so much doesn’t really seem to have changed. In fact, a lot of it has gotten worse. 

As each tech chapter starts to unfold, whether it’s the internet, or Google, or the ability to face time your granny, the predictions at the start of it are always bold. 

We tend to take one of our stickier problems, in this case productivity, and connect it to the new invention and tell a pollster it will all be sorted. 

Here is what we know for a fact about AI; Governments, apart from the EU, this week haven't done a thing about it. They let social media go nuts and look how that turned out. 

It uses more power than we literally have. So how productive can you actually be when the thing that will change everything can't even be run because the lights don’t work? 

That’s before you get to the other predictions about it eating us all and life as we know it is over. 

In the 0-100 game we tend to play we still seem to be suckered into believing everything new is 100, when in fact even the good stuff might, might, end up at about 60-ish. 

Come back to me in five years and let's see where we are. My bet is where we are won't be an awful lot different to where we are right now. 

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