• Your life will be impacted by AI… for better or worse
  • AI is just starting a multi-year, multi-decade boom
  • We are in the midst of a true AI collision

Having moved house and country recently, I still have a lot of stuff to unpack.

I noticed this most clearly when I was in the kitchen this week. Out of sheer habit while cooking dinner, I said, “Alexa, set a timer for 40 minutes.”

After a moment’s pause to hear Alexa confirm my said request, I then realised she wasn’t responding. A moment later I realised that’s because I hadn’t put any Alexa-enabled devices in the kitchen yet.

So, rather than just looking at the clock, and then figuring out 40 minutes later – or (worse) trying to figure out the timer on the actual oven – I then said, “Hey Siri, set a timer for 40 minutes.”

My dad might call me lazy; I would call it efficient.

It’s a simple reminder of how much artificial intelligence (AI) is already ingrained in our day-to-day lives. The thing is, I wonder if people are astute enough to realise that we already live in a world immersed with AI and that all this talk of an AI boom is real, but also is only just beginning, for better… or for worse.

Touch it every day until it touches back

Alexa, Siri and “Hey Google”, these are the earliest forms of AI that people should be familiar with on a day-to-day basis.

However, there are other not-so-obvious ways that AI has already integrated into everything you do. Do you ever use Google Maps, or Apple Maps? You know how sometimes they change the route, or offer changes, on the fly? They’re constantly looking at more efficient ways to get you from A to B – what do you think is at the heart of that?

Perhaps you’re looking to get a cab in a major city. There are many applications to choose from with Uber being one of the most popular. How do you think it figures out what car to get to you in the quickest way, to get you to the location you want to get to?

I’m guessing you did a Google search for something today as well. Who doesn’t on a daily basis? Well, you guessed it… it’s AI at the heart of it all.

Of course, it’s worth saying that AI comes in many shapes and forms. There is no singular AI that encompasses everything.

Of course, there are different levels of “intelligence” too. It’s also worth pointing out that there’s still conjecture as to whether there’s even really a true AI out there, as in one that is indistinguishable from a human.

Maybe we’ll never get to a real AI that is capable of emotion, feeling and perception in the way a human can. Maybe we don’t ever want to get there…?

Either way, here’s something I can 100% guarantee you in a world where it’s hard to guarantee anything…

Your life will be impacted by AI. Guaranteed.

Maybe it’s through something as simple as home or car automation. Maybe it’s through your healthcare provider catching something that perhaps even the trained eye might have missed.

You will touch AI and it will change everything. In my view, on the balance of things, for the better too.

I see what’s coming as a benefit to our society, our living standards and our world. But many sceptics will have you believe that it’s an existential threat to humanity.

So, who are you to believe?

Well, it’s tricky. As much as I guarantee your life will collide with AI, I can’t guarantee that it will always be positive.

Look and O***

There will be some drawbacks too. You only need to look to the striking auto workers unions in the US right now to see what advanced technologies do. The auto workers are finding the shift to electric vehicles means more robotic, automated and simple manufacturing lines. It means less work or no work in their coming future – and they don’t like it.

I know that AI is part of that problem.

We also don’t know how AI will be put to use. While there’s no doubt it will be used for good, like in diagnostics and pathology, it might also be used for bad, to influence and coerce.

Let me give you a real-world example.

Check out the image below:

Source: @DiffusionPics

What do you see? A group of people dressed up are just walking down a street, right?

Look again. Maybe take a step or two back from the image and squint your eyes a little…

What do you see now? Can you see a word? A four-letter word? Starting with O?

What does it say?

This is an AI-generated image. It’s a slightly worrying way in which subliminal messages may be delivered to us in the near future… or immediate future.

I wonder how long until the government starts using this kind of AI as a weapon. If it isn’t already. The government has a track record on social influence and manipulation.

The AI collision

There’s a lot going on right now in AI. Some of it has been in the making for decades. Some of it is hitting us smack in the face in real time.

What I know is that AI is just starting a multi-year, multi-decade boom. A true technological revolution that will touch every corner of the earth and your life.

It will also impact the companies you already invest in, the companies you will invest in and industries all over the world. We are in the midst of a true AI collision.

There will be good and bad, highs and lows, companies that boom and some that bust. However, it will be a fun, wild ride – and I want to make sure you’re along with me for that ride.

More on that soon…

For now, while on the subject of what AI can do, I tend to think that there’s another four-letter word that might help us all a little (just follow that link to see what I mean).

You’ll hear from me on this all again, very soon.

Until then,

Sam Volkering
Contributing Editor, Fortune & Freedom