Artificial intelligence, or AI in modern day speak, is gaining momentum, but it still has a long road to travel, and it won’t be an all out Terminator experience.

One of the key concerns in many industries is the loss of jobs to robots.

READ: The move to automated mining is on, but who’s really ready to join the robot revolution?

The CSIRO recently told us AI is a $315 billion industry and Stephen Schwarzman, head of private equity group Blackstone, said in September AI had ‘Amazon-like growth potential’.

And well, Nasdaq-listed Amazon is a nearly $US1 trillion ($1.5 trillion) company.

So we know it’s going to be big, but…

It’s not going to happen tomorrow

Some tech businesses are admitting wide-scale AI is a long way off. And even when it eventuates, it will still need a human element.

“Artificial intelligence has arguably been one of the most hyped technologies of the 21st century,” Sean Girvin, managing director ANZ for cloud computing firm Rackspace, said.

“We have seen plenty of talk about AI supplementing the workforce, automating everything and impacting businesses’ bottom lines financially.

“However, the reality is that we are still far away off from any of these things occurring due to the last mile problem.”

Girvin said AI “can only take us so far”.

“But we still need a human element to ultimately train the machine and take us the last mile to make effective business decisions,” he explained.

“While AI is self-sufficient and reliable, there is a limiting factor because business decisions are not always black and white.

“To realise the promised and inherently positive value of AI, this will require planned collaboration between Australian business leaders, AI and staff.”

Read: It’s a ‘myth’ – robots won’t take mining jobs

Greater regulation needed 

There have been calls for regulators to step in before AI becomes widespread. Problems such as biases have appeared and the larger AI becomes, the harder it will be difficult to stop.

Joe Petro, chief technology officer at Nuance Communications, thinks regulations will become stricter.

“A new era will arise where industries and governing bodies will start to draw bolder lines around ethics and proper application of machine learning for problem-solving,” he says.

“We will realise the limitations of the technology and with that, security will become paramount—especially in industries where individuals’ information is being captured and stored for personalisation.

“While always a priority, as machine-led conversational experiences become more commonplace, it will be impossible to ignore the need to foster trust.

“This pressure will open up investment and opportunity for innovative new ways of protection including through biometric and behavioural factors.”

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