Artificial intelligence has been a big buzzword — and an increasingly prevalent tool — in 2022. But not every company has embraced it, and many consumers haven’t come around to understanding it — or to welcoming its presence in their lives.
Thomas Neubert, General Manager at Intel, said he wanted to address that gap.
To help foster better understanding of AI, he created the Transatlantic AI eXchange, which allows experts to share information on AI with business and government leaders in the United States and Europe. Neubert, originally from Germany, founded the eXchange as a personal interest project, but now devotes part of his time at Intel to working on the eXchange.
Neubert, during an interview at our recent Impact Silicon Valley conference, explained some of the myths behind AI; which industries stand to benefit most from it; and detailed some of the key players in AI today.
Examining the Hype Cycle
Neubert defines AI as “the ability to perceive or infer information and to retain it as knowledge to be applied toward adaptive behaviors.” He noted that AI differs from machine learning (ML) and deep learning, though they are related to one another.
He explained that AI as a concept has been around since the 1960s.
But why is it now approaching a peak in the hype cycle?
“AI has been hyped up three or four times before already. And then we had this long winter in between.” What has changed? “The hardware and the cost associated [with] implementing AI is finally affordable,” Neubert said.
Industries that Will Capitalize the Most from AI
Neubert said that many industries have the potential to increase efficiencies and profit from the deployment of AI. He said he sees three doing that in the immediate future.
Neubert said AI will make manufacturing faster and more efficient — and that it will significantly decrease the number of errors made.
“You are catching these mistakes, two to four steps earlier on the conveyor belt [with AI],” he said. “These [errors] are normally only being found in the last phase of their quality assurance [process].”
With 99 percent accuracy, there is no human being, there is no machine that I can think of without AI that could actually accomplish that.
He said he recently saw an impressive demonstration that used AI-enabled cameras to monitor the manufacturing of smartphone cases.
“My eyes were not able to look at these covers going over the conveyor belt; it was so fast. With 99 percent accuracy, there is no human being, there is no machine that I can think of without AI that could actually accomplish that,” he said.
2) Healthcare and biotechnology
Neubert predicts that healthcare delivery and the development of vaccines will benefit from AI.
Beyond that, he said he believes that patients will develop preferences toward medical professionals that leverage AI in their practices.
“Most likely, if you are not embracing AI as a doctor, the patient will not choose you,” he said.
While Neubert originally found that idea hard to believe, he said in high-stakes medical situations, AI-powered imaging and recommendations could save patients’ lives. One recent example involves predicting the risk of fatal strokes or heart attacks using lung x-rays.
Experts project a continued rise in the development and use of autonomous vehicles.
Neubert said companies like Tesla, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen, and BMW continue to upgrade their autonomous vehicle capabilities. But the success of autonomous vehicles depends on the implementation of AI.
“All of a sudden, you see more electric cars coming out of the German car manufacturers in the last year and a half than ever before,” he said. “Without AI, there is no self driving; no autonomous driving,” he said.
And while he projects those industries will grow quickest in the future, he said that a group of seven companies have already emerged as the leading providers of AI infrastructure and services. Neubert and other experts call these companies “the seven hyperscalers.”
“Cloud service providers are really driving this [implementation of AI]: Google, Facebook (Meta), Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent,” he explained.
Neubert said he understands the confusion around AI and its supporting technologies.
“When you ask people, ‘Can you explain to me what [AI] is?’ most people cannot. … The first response is, ‘It’s bad. It will take over the world,’” he said. “But when you tell them… a translator from Google on your phone, a search engine, and Netflix recommendations, are all AI-driven, people don’t know that.”
One particular misunderstanding keeps cropping up: People fear that AI will soon take over their jobs.
According to Neubert, there won’t be a big hit to overall employment because of AI, but the type of jobs that are available in the future will require different skills.
“Will jobs be eliminated by the usage of AI? The answer is yes, absolutely. But other industrial revolutions prior [have also eliminated jobs],” he said. “The dilemma is that, most likely, AI will replace jobs where the people who had these jobs may not be suited for the [new] job that’s being [created.]”
Neubert said he knows AI has — and will continue to — garner resistance from people globally.
When you ask people, ‘Can you explain to me what [AI] is?’ most people cannot. … The first response is, ‘It’s bad. It will take over the world.’
“For me, AI is just another face — a big one — of the development of humankind, and adopting technology in general. And every single time something like this happens, you get resistance,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean people won’t use it.
“If there is a product that has a really cool feature [powered by] AI, and you like it, you will use it anyway,” Neubert said.
And for the average company, there could be a lot to gain from AI.