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Good OM Reading: AI + Blockchain

June 23, 2018

This new book (www.mkpress.com) alerts readers to the impending collision of the two largest foundational technologies for the coming decades: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

AI has had a long history of hype and excitement about how we can externalize our human skills. Blockchain is the newer technology that is motivated largely by a change in control of cryptocurrencies and inventory.  AI, claim the authors, seeks to displace individuals while blockchain seeks to displace a controlling team of individuals. AI will continue to disrupt business in many ways, leading to job loss and rendering irrelevant many human cognitive skills. Blockchain too is challenging and will continue to change the position of trust of central authorities, whether in the government or in big business.

Both these technologies, however, have enormous potential to make positive changes in the world of operations management. AI, rightly engineered and deployed, has the potential to become humanity’s servant, freeing up humans. Blockchain, responsibly governed and deployed, has the potential to democratize society, by eliminating friction in the world’s transactions and eliminating middlemen, and by facilitating a more equitably distributed internet of value. The most efficient and effective ways for this to happen is through a partnership between these two powerful technologies, where blockchain delivers trusted and immutable information for AI, and AI delivers cognition and automation to business processes.

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