Artificial Intelligence

The smart machines are coming. Will you’re portfolio be ready?

Artificial intelligence is the science and engineering behind the creation of intelligent machines. It’s about the use of computation to achieve goals rather than human brainpower.

If a software developer’s task only requires routine steps from memory, a program is only somewhat intelligent. Real, transformative artificial intelligence occurs when machines can make sense of unreliable information, think for themselves and develop unexpected but accurate results.

Artificial intelligence is already transforming modern life at incredible speed as the number, depth and utility of smart devices increases every day. Every common item that experienced a breakthrough around the time of the first Gilded Age when electrified will make another great leap forward in our lives when it is “cognitized.”

As an example, the lives of people 100 years ago were greatly improved by electric lights, heating and the telephone. Now lives will be transformed by intelligent lighting schemes, smart thermostat controls and smartphones that know what we want or need before we ask.

Artificial intelligence is transforming how businesses work, as software helps companies anticipate and react more efficiently to customers. Microsoft “envisioning” guru Dave Coplin told business leaders in a speech recently that AI is the “most important technology that anybody on the planet is working on today.” He added that it “will change how we relate to technology. It will change how we relate to each other. .. It will even change how we perceive what it means to be human.”

Many leading technology companies like Amazon.com, Google, Facebook and Nvidia are making AI the foundation of all their efforts. Next, many small companies with AI solutions will also emerge as the new Gilded Age rolls forward. Likewise, major old-school industrial manufacturers like Ford, 3M and Caterpillar are incorporating AI in their products as fast as they can.

You can count on current AI looking primitive in just a few years, however. Engineers will whittle away at the constraints of current AI applications – sending society hurtling toward a point at which software will exceed human abilities at virtually any intellectual task. While that seems far-fetched, engineers at nonprofit research firm OpenAI note that the progression of machine intelligence is a “double exponential” function: Human-written programs and computing power are getting better at an exponential rate, and self-learning/self-improving software will improve itself at an exponential rate. Development progress may look relatively slow at first, then all of a sudden go vertical.

Bottom line: Artificial intelligence is creeping up on modern life, and will ultimately be seen as one of the great investment opportunities of the new Gilded Age.