/Artificial Intelligence Will Change How We Think About Leadership

Artificial Intelligence Will Change How We Think About Leadership

Summary: “The job of the future may well be [that of] a philosopher who understands technology, what it means to our human identity, and what it means for the kind of society we would like to see” David De Cremer

Original author and publication date: University of Pennsylvania – November 2, 2020

Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Yes, the job of the future is being a philosopher, because all philosophy is philosophy of the future.

From the article:

The increasing attention being paid to artificial intelligence raises important questions about its integration with social sciences and humanity, according to David De Cremer, founder and director of the Centre on AI Technology for Humankind at the National University of Singapore Business School. He is the author of the recent book, Leadership by Algorithm: Who Leads and Who Follows in the AI Era?

While AI today is good at repetitive tasks and can replace many managerial functions, it could over time acquire the “general intelligence” that humans have, he said in a recent interview with AI for Business (AIB), a new initiative at Analytics at Wharton. Headed by Wharton operations, information and decisions professor Kartik Hosanagar, AIB is a research initiative that focuses on helping students expand their knowledge and application of machine learning and understand the business and societal implications of AI.

According to De Cremer, AI will never have “a soul” and it cannot replace human leadership qualities that let people be creative and have different perspectives. Leadership is required to guide the development and applications of AI in ways that best serve the needs of humans. “The job of the future may well be [that of] a philosopher who understands technology, what it means to our human identity, and what it means for the kind of society we would like to see,” he noted.

An edited transcript of the interview appears below.

AI for Business: A lot is being written about artificial intelligence. What inspired you to write Leadership by Algorithm? What gap among existing books about AI were you trying to fill?

David De Cremer: AI has been around for quite some time. The term was coined in 1956 and inspired a “first wave” of research until the mid-1970s. But since the beginning of the 21st century more direct applications became clear and changed our attitude towards the “real” potential of AI. This shift was especially fueled by events where AI started to engage with world champions in chess and the Chinese game Go. Most of the attention went, and still goes to, the technology itself: that the technology acts in ways that seem to be intelligent, which is also a simple definition of artificial intelligence.

It seems intelligent in ways that humans are intelligent. I am not a computer scientist; my background is in behavioral economics. But I did notice that the integration between social sciences, humanity, and artificial intelligence was not getting as much attention as it should. Artificial intelligence is meant to create value for society that is populated by humans; the end users always must be humans. That means AI must act, think, read, and produce outcomes in a social context.

AI is particularly good at repetitive, routine tasks and thinking systematically and consistently. This already implies that the tasks and the jobs that are most likely to be taken over by AI are the hard skills, and not so much the soft skills. In a way, this observation corresponds with what is called Moravec’s paradox: What is easy for humans is difficult for AI, and what is difficult for humans seems rather easy for AI.

“We are moving into a society where people are being told by algorithms what their taste is, and, without questioning it too much, most people comply easily.”

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