AI: The tool to enhance society – from data analytics to consumer applications
By Madhukar Kumar
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been the topic of much conversation in recent months, and with good reason. AI is transforming everything we know, from how we write emails, plan trips and take photos. Yet, I think there has been too much emphasis placed on what AI may replace or “ruin,” and not enough emphasis on how AI can enhancesociety.
Some things that took a lot of effort and investment to build have become significantly easier with generative AI and Large Learning Models (LLMs), and those structures have follow on consequences – from giving rise to more architects and assemblers vs. how-to coders, to a heightened quality of everything we do as creative tasks increase.
Quite fittingly, Reid Hoffman posted that AI should be renamed from Artificial Intelligence to “Amplified” Intelligence.
Particularly for data managers and consumers, there are many facets of our lives that AI will enhance.
On the data management side, with the increasing sophistication of AI technologies, some of the unique skills that data analysts are trained in, and applications that they have unique knowledge of, will become less marketable. That is, if you can now type into an AI application a request to generate a graph showing a sales forecast for the next four quarters, knowing how to create such a forecast won’t remain as significant of a selective skill. However, some skills will remain imperative – you may not need to know how to run regression anymore, but you definitely need to understand when to use it and how it is different from other techniques like factor analysis. To elaborate, what cannot be replaced, and what will arguably be more needed than ever, is data managers’ insights and expertise in interpreting data.
Similar to the examples above, I would go so far as to argue that AI can and will enhance data managers’ jobs. If less of your time and your team’s time is spent formatting and organizing data, you can spend more time researching and translating its real-world implications. With AI, the role of data managers and data analysts will actually become much more sophisticated as their ability to turn towards interpretation will heighten.
While the office will certainly shift, we will continue to see AI enhance everyday experiences as well. This is very similar to what we saw with the advent of the cloud. The cloud transformed people’s ability to save, share, and access their data – especially in incidents where their devices are lost or stolen. Just like the cloud spurred the growth of new kinds of companies, we will see the emergence of new kinds of companies with AI.
Of course, businesses will have to adjust their services to keep up with changing consumer demand. Let’s take the example of AI generated photo applications like Topaz AI. Topaz AI enables you to enhance an image or video’s quality using computer software. It is automatic, fast, and easy (it also works for videos!). This is a great technology and one that I’m sure all of us can and will use. But the existence of this technology also means that you don’t need professional grade, expensive cameras to take excellent photos in the first place. Your iPhone from 3 years ago will do an equally good job with these add-on services. Consumers are thus going to benefit from this cheaper and more accessible product. And, as professional camera companies notice demand for their products declining, they’ll either have to improve their offerings so they exceed the quality provided by the computer or lower their costs to compete with computers. Either of these scenarios has benefits for the general public.
While it is important to consider – and mitigate – the downsides of AI applications, it is equally as important to highlight and celebrate the benefits of this technology, and, in particular, the positive effects it can have in both our professional and personal lives.
Madhukar Kumar is the Chief Marketing Officer at SingleStore.
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