“Some 50 percent of service jobs will be up for grabs to artificial intelligence and how we handle it is our main issue,” said Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the Singularity University and founder of the X-Prize in a plenary session at the Government Summit in Dubai on ‘The World in 2050’.
“Artificial Intelligence does more and better than humans and we are in a world where robots do retail shopping,” he said.
“The era of robotics is not a distant future but a short-term reality, with robots already undertaking complex and critical functions such as in health care, which makes undertaking complex surgeries independent of physical geographies,” he added.
He said that harnessing the power of quantum computing and genome sequencing, alongside the evolution of AI and robotics, will be a fundamental decision governments will have to make in relation to human job creation.
He says the advances in 3D printing, likewise, is making manufacturing geography-independent, while robots will further pose intense competition to the labor force, making countries independent of external labor.
“In such a scenario, the cost of labor will drop significantly, and will be just the cost of powering the machines.”
Diamandis said the world has changed from thinking ‘local and linear’ to being ‘global and exponential’ which extends the limits of possibilities.
“In a local and linear world, the changes were gradual with everything that affects a human being happening in the distance of a day’s walk.”
Today, however, the world is changing year to year led by the exponential growth of technology, he said.
“This could lead to disruptive stress or disruptive opportunity,” adding that according to reports, nearly 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies today will cease to exist in a decade’s time due to the technological disruption and their inability to adapt to the changes.
In a separate session, Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, UK, said governments must take the high road to cut their own costs by embracing innovation if they want to enhance service delivery and achieve economic growth.
“No two countries have the same level of expenses but all countries face the same challenge of squeezed budgets and increasing expenses,” Maude said.
Sharing the experiences of the British government in this area, Maude unveiled five principles which can help governments provide enhanced services at reduced costs.
The first principle of ‘Openness’ basically uses transparency and open data to bring continuous improvement in austerity levels.
By adopting this principle, bureaucrats and politicians are made more accountable. “Openness allows taxpayers to see how their money is spent. The second principle is ‘Tight Controls from the Center’ on common activities, which not only reduces costs but also encourages collaboration.
‘Looseness’ the third principle can empower frontline workers to deliver. Governments need to find new ways of operating services through spinouts and joint ventures. The aim should be to break public sector monopoly over services.
The fourth principle, ‘Digital,’ is so compelling that by default people will use digital services.
Highlighting ‘Public Service Culture’ as the final principle, Maude said public servants must be given the flexibility to try out new things in service.
In order to be successful, he said governments must embrace a culture that supports innovation and tolerance to failure.