Integrated into the economy, gradually disorganized at the initiative of disrupters or more planned by large companies, automatons, learning systems, analytical agents and assistants have the potential to significantly alter the productive system and finally generate the productivity gains that have been expected for the last thirty years, since the digital revolution started and that still have not shown.
This is perhaps the main issue behind artificial intelligence: making productivity progress sufficiently to open a new cycle of growth at a time when economists are discussing the possibility of a secular stagnation. For this revolution to take place in companies, several challenges have to be met. First, the organizational and human challenge. Many companies have disappeared because they were not organized to go and conquer customers on the Internet (Borders in the US, CAMIF and Surcouf, in France), for example). Others almost disappeared because they did not have the next generation of information and logistics systems (La Redoute, Barnes and Nobles).
The integration of artificial intelligence into production processes and customer relationship management, for example, requires a new way of thinking, working and managing. But if many companies fail to adapt to change, it is often because their employees (from the highest management to the lowest level operator) fail to change their thinking, work, collaborate. The challenge of artificial intelligence is therefore, paradoxically, terribly human. The conversion to computer technology has been painful for the babyboomers generation. That of artificial intelligence, if it is to occur, will require major adaptation efforts of the generation X. Generation Y, a priori better prepared, will still have to be trained in these new ways of working, that are just emerging. Moreover, it is not forbidden to think that it is generation Z, the next, who will be the true expert of cooperation with intelligent agents and other automatons.
It may be they who will be able to invent the business models enabled by artificial intelligence. Mc Donalds has created a system in which meals are prepared by those who have not received no training in catering. In the same way, one can predict the rise of consulting companies where advanced consulting would be given by beginners thanks their intelligence agents. One can even imagine that one would return to buy its electronic equipment in Intuito, the new chain of stores of electronics because one receives expert advice provided by trays + 0, augmented by intelligent wizards capable to answer any technical question, much better than Amazon who would not have known how to take the turn of the "expert retailing".
New business models may also means new markets. SMEs do not have the resources to get the skills of specialists in business management, management, sale or technique. But mow cost artificial intelligence platforms, based on entry levels consultants augmented by intelligent agents, can create entire markets in the field of SMEs consulting. The same which holds true for SMEs consultancy, probably holds true for the mass markets as well as large companies.
Finally, it may be necessary to prepare the interconnection of the various artificial intelligence systems with each other. If no expert believes in the rapid emergence of Skynet-like planetary artificial intelligence seen in "Terminator", or of Hall 9000-type in "2001 Space Odyssey" or David in Steven Spielberg's "AI", there is a possibility that a multitude of small intelligent systems develop, little by little, independently. Companies could thus be confronted with a scenario of incompatibility between the various artificial intelligence systems that they will develop internally, lease in Saas mode or subcontract to partners. Designing open systems that can interchange with each other, connect to the various information systems of a company or the sensor networks that are being set up, will allow companies to save the cost of the redevelopment of software interconnection overlays.
As one can see, once the fantasies are lifted and short-term prospects identified, ordinary businesses can identify opportunities to exploit in artificial intelligence.
Professionals can define employability strategies that enable them to prepare for the changes that are ahead.
So the apocalyptic predictions of doomsayers on the substitution of humans by machines can be replaced by a future in which men rely on artificial intelligence to increase their capacity and productivity, become more versatile, a future in which the textile industry and many others return to Europe, a future in which French know-how is exported worldwide through Saas services, Artificial intelligence, a future in which call centers finally bring intelligent answers to their customers, a future in which we enter a new cycle of growth made possible by the productivity gains of artificial intelligence, a future in which robots and intelligent agents produce wealth that will finance the pension system ...
For this and many other things to happen, it is up to us, European digital professionals, to take hold of this subject. Let's be convinced, it is not up to a few hundred Silicon Valley engineers to decide the future of artificial intelligence. They have already decided how we should search for information or how we should connect with each other through social networks. A for artificial intelligence, we can take control for it to become an opportunity, not a threat, so that it can improve our performance instead of replacing us, that it assists the elderly instead of making them dependent on multinationals, so that it can prevent the development of cancers instead of excluding private insurance schemes those that could develop the same cancers or even allow the unemployed to return to the labor market by increasing the value of their work.