February 18, 2018

In a smarter society, AI will manage but it’s humans who will lead

Fredrik Ring

Head of business and IT transformation, Tieto

As individuals, we humans tend to be smart, but collectively we can sometimes seem stupid. Artificial intelligence can be harnessed to increase our shared conscience. As a society, we at times go for the wrong things: polluting the earth, suppressing certain demographics, or working in the interest of the few instead of the many. From education to environment and immigration, there are a lot of things we don’t get right.

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) can lend us a helping hand. It can provide us with an objective understanding of what is happening and what the consequences of our actions could be. This enables us to start behaving like an organism, knowing what our role is and how it impacts our surroundings.

Harnessing the power of the virtual mind.

For example, in the information age, there’s an overload of data and an abundance of fake news. AI has the capability to identify fake stories, helping people consume news in a responsible manner.

We all know that AI can replace human power in tedious day-to-day tasks. However, it can also do things in fundamentally different ways that are far beyond the capacity of a human. For example, it can predict avalanches and earthquakes or a patient’s probability of developing cancer or diabetes.

Particularly combined with humans’ contextual intelligence, the narrow intelligence from AI can be a very powerful tool. For example, a doctor is able to take into account social and cultural contexts, such as a patient’s family situation or psychological capabilities, while AI can then add its algorithm-based analysis to detect problems at accuracy levels that no human can achieve.

AI also poses an immense opportunity to smoothen our daily lives, from predicting traffic flows to optimizing the flow of goods and services. As the sharing economy grows and ‘as-a-service’ becomes more and more common as a business model, we can also reduce the time our vehicles and buildings remain idle, and monitor the state our machines and to lengthen their life span. If we distributed the wealth created by AI evenly, we might even be able to work fewer hours for the same amount of pay.

Administrators, not leaders.

As great a servant AI can be, at least for now it makes a poor master. In many algorithm-based businesses, AI is a manager, but leaders are humans. Leaders choose where to go next, how resources are divided and spent, and where to focus. Humans have a vision, enthusiasm and passion, and it’s the leadership’s responsibility to build a shared culture and consciousness within the organization.

Leading is so much about relationships and communication, and this is something that AI cannot do – yet. That’s why, at Tieto, our homegrown AI ‘Alicia T’ is a member of the leadership team, but not the chairman of the board.

Those concerned about the effects of AI often worry about its ability to make moral judgments. How much weight should we give to AI-driven decision-making, when it comes to our justice system or other morally-loaded aspects of our society? Who is to be held accountable of choices made by AI? This, and various other aspects are worth serious contemplation as the technology takes leaps ahead.

Doing things right is as essential as doing the right things. To unleash the full potential of AI and live in a smarter society, we need all stakeholders to come together and collaborate to pave the way. 

Watch Fredrik Ring's video, "How can we shape a smarter society by using AI?", here.

What does a smarter society mean?

Tieto’s goal is to utilize our expertise in digitalization to continue shaping a smarter society, one which anticipates the needs of the people in every phase of their lives. For more insights and examples on how we are doing this, visit Tieto.com/smartersociety.

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