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Another Perspective on

As we navigate the ever-evolving AI landscape, bold predictions about its immediate and long-term impacts have become increasingly commonplace. The start of the year, in particular, brings forth a flurry of these prediction posts.

While these forecasts often swing between utopian and dystopian extremes, let's take an "anti-prediction" approach here. My stance is simple: we tend to overestimate AI's short-term effects while significantly underestimating its long-term implications.

The Short-Term Overestimation

In the short term, there's a tendency to expect rapid, revolutionary changes following the introduction of new AI technologies. This anticipation is fueled by a mix of media hype, speculative fiction, and the tech industry's penchant for dramatic announcements. However, the reality often falls short of these expectations. The reasons are multifaceted:

Technical Challenges

AI development often encounters unforeseen technical hurdles that delay progress. 
For instance, in an enterprise setup, integrating data residing in arcane systems is more complex than a simple tap and click.

Adoption Lag

The integration of AI into society and industry takes time, as it requires changes in infrastructure, skills, and societal attitudes. Many pilots have commenced in the last 12 months, but the leap from this to actual product-grade rollouts is significant. (We are working on several. If you are interested in how we got there – read our case studies and get in touch!)

Regulatory and Ethical Constraints

Legal and ethical considerations can slow down the deployment of AI technologies, particularly in sensitive areas like healthcare, autonomous vehicles and generally any regulated industry.

This short-term overestimation often leads to a cycle of hype and disillusionment, often referred to as the "AI hype cycle."

The Long-Term Underestimation

Conversely, the anti-prediction perspective holds that we consistently underestimate the long-term impact of AI,  not just in terms of technological capabilities but also in how AI will reshape our social, economic, and political landscapes. Several factors contribute to this underestimation:

Cumulative Advances

Incremental progress in AI, while seemingly modest in the short term, can lead to profound changes over longer periods. Think back to the advent of the internet - I vividly remember a telco operator telling us even after 2000, that the demand for mobile internet would be limited. 

Convergence with Other Technologies

The interaction of AI with other emerging technologies like biotechnology, nanotechnology, and quantum computing could lead to synergistic effects that are hard to predict.

Societal Transformation

AI's long-term impact extends beyond technology, potentially altering the very fabric of society – from the way we work to the nature of human relationships and the structure of governments. For instance, the way we apply for jobs will be altered forever.

Navigating the AI Future

Adopting an anti-prediction lens requires a balanced view of AI's potential. It calls for caution against overhyped short-term gains while maintaining an open mind about the transformative possibilities in the long run. This approach also emphasizes the importance of ongoing ethical and regulatory discussions to ensure that AI develops in a way that benefits humanity as a whole.

In conclusion, I hope this perspective offers another and more realistic approach to understanding AI's future. AI's true impact might be different and far more profound than our current predictions suggest. Yet the way this develops might be different than many predictions want you to believe. 


Dorian Selz
Post By Dorian Selz January 16, 2024

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