Artificial intelligence is poised to fundamentally change how we live and work. Whether it will be salvation or curse will depend on the extent to which we get to grips with it now
It is the dawn of a new age, when everything from climate change and the state of our cities to our personal health and wellbeing will experience dramatic improvements at a speed and scale beyond anything achieved to date.
It is a looming apocalypse, morphing beyond all human control, that could wipe out civilisation as we know it within our lifetimes.
It is humanity’s redundancy notice, poised to wipe out vast numbers of jobs.
It will generate vast numbers of new jobs and business opportunities, while freeing people from the drudgery of hazardous or boring work.
Depending who you talk to, “it” could be all of these things, or at least toned down versions of them. We are talking, of course, about artificial intelligence: the rapidly growing ability of computers to imitate, and improve upon, many of the core functions of the human brain.
And to echo an earlier slogan of one of the companies involved, it changes everything.
AI’s power is amplified by the way it combines with – and in many cases enables – innovations such as cloud computing, the internet of things and automation, and its ability to harness the vast amount of data now available on everything from energy use to...