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OM in the News: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything

March 10, 2017

“Artificial intelligence is shaping up as the next industrial revolution, poised to rapidly reinvent business, the global economy and how people work and interact with each other,” writes The Wall Street Journal (March 7, 2017).  AI is creating a lot of new opportunities. Just as about 100 years ago electrification changed all of industry,  AI will impact every major industry. Here are the observations from two industry experts interviewed by the Journal:

  1. In a few years everyone will be using speech recognition. It will feel natural. You’ll soon forget what it was like before you could talk to computers.
  2. A team at Imperial College London just developed an AI that could diagnose pulmonary hypertension better than cardiologists typically do. Cardiologists have about 60% accuracy. This system does 80% accuracy.
  3. AI technology needs a lot of customization for a business context. This means that business leaders hire a senior AI leader to sort this out for them.
  4. Almost anything that a typical person can do with less than 1 second of mental thought we can either now or in the very near future automate with AI. There are a lot of jobs that can be accomplished by stringing together many 1-second tasks. Consider a security guard monitoring security footage– a complex job. But the job can be broken down into a lot of smaller tasks, which involve 1 second of cognitive thinking.
  5. The transition that’s going to occur over the next 10-15 years that is significant. Just as AI will destroy jobs, it will create new jobs that we can’t yet imagine. The challenge is the skills mismatch.
  6. The ratio of jobs destroyed to new jobs? In the short term, unfavorable.

Classroom discussion questions:

1.Why is AI important to operations management?

2.What can students do to prepare for AI?

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