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October 2017

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There are some mornings when we could all do with a little artificial intelligence. Whether the “little grey cells” are indisposed after an extra glass of wine at the staff drinks party last night, or some extra computing power is needed to cope with the morning maelstrom of homework help, pet pampering, logistical logic and nutritional nightmares which act as the modern morning call-to-arms - we could do with a hand. If even coffee won’t do it, then technology will have a solution. Might we be heading back a century to a time when humans can metaphorically sit outside on the terrace reading the newspaper, while the mundane tasks are conducted - rigidly, routinely and without the hint of a complaint - by the house ‘bot’. ‘Below stairs’ will have become ‘with wheels’ and our mornings will be the better because if it.

I mention those musings now, as if you are still worried about the impact of AI on our daily lives, then you have probably already been left behind. Next time someone makes a sage prediction about how technology will change our futures (this column excepted, obviously) you know for sure that they are simply, massively, out of date. What we think is in the future is already in the present (if we take the time to look) and with the current rate of progress we have literally no idea what’s actually coming tomorrow. The fact we now can pay for parking on a phone app is to be hugely welcomed - at last.

The impact of AI on local business is beginning to crystallise, with a recent Digital Jersey conference which tried to add some detail to the future landscape - our monthly column from the Jersey Policy Forum takes up the baton in this edition (see page 56).

The misconception is that it is just administrative, or processing, tasks which might be at risk - actually, what about AI providing legal or medical advice? If all of your personal medical data is accessible to Dr Bot, which also has an intimate knowledge of your genetic make-up and family history, and can access a universe full of data about related case histories and current bugs doing the rounds - oh, and it can prescribe a fix tailored specially for your body, knowing exactly how you have responded to similar treatments in the past - who would you rather see? Dr Bot (highly effective, if a little metallic) or that nice Dr Bottomley who is always running 20 minutes late, and would rather tell you about his latest skiing holiday?

And why stop there? There are already algorithms (of which humans are perhaps just a complex variety) writing sparkling copy for august publications such as Connect. Crack on. Breakfast on the terrace anyone?

Read Connect and let the bot do the work. 

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