Time is our most valuable asset. Thanks to new technologies, more and more work could be done by machines. And we could devote ourselves to creativity and, above all, to each other, which makes a positive outlook to people.
Digitalization is on everyone’s lips. First and foremost, the word is used to start a tirade about the backwardness of Germans or Europeans in dealing with new technologies or the need for their economy to catch up.
But Europe in particular has all the prerequisites for overcoming the greatest social and economic challenges with the help of new technologies. The key technology for this is artificial intelligence.
An incredible stroke of luck in history leads to the clash of two situations that mean a unique opportunity for us. On the one hand, our economy and society are under siege.
Economically, this is reflected in the digital dominance of non-European companies attacking one core industry after another. Socially and politically, it becomes visible through the increasing willingness to act extremely – be it terrorism, right-wing extremism, or the creation of a surveillance state.
Use your time for more beautiful areas
On the other hand, with today’s state of the art, we can outsource 80 percent of the work to machines. Each of these scenarios is unpleasant in itself. Now, these two situations come together – the risk for the entire economy of being replaced by better models, but also the possibility of increasing efficiencies.
On the one hand, this means that we need time and money to restructure our business models and indeed our entire society. On the other hand, we can do what we do now to a large extent with less time and money.
For us humans, time is our most valuable asset. We get this time, which we spend today with predefined repetitive tasks, back through the use of artificial intelligence and can use it in the areas that remain closed to the machines for the time being. It is precisely these areas that make us happy and grow: creativity and service to each other.
What are we waiting for? Why don’t we let machines do many of our current jobs? Instead of talking about the eternal yesterday or the distant day after tomorrow, why don’t we seize the opportunity?
In this way, we maintain our economic position and at the same time have more paid time to take care of the big and important issues. And that’s while nurturing creative talents or those who stand up for others.
More humanity and fulfillment
That’s why artificial intelligence, which would make this possible, is a key technology. It is the only chance we have ever had to solve the accumulated tasks without a major break in the economy or society.
Without a break, we must not first implement efficiency and trust that there will be new jobs, but because during these changes we are forced to create these new jobs.
It will be a change for each of us – but not the creeping change towards more and more machine-like humans, as we have experienced so far, but the change towards more humanity and fulfillment.
We have the richest treasure trove of knowledge, experience, and values that exists worldwide. We must use it to compete with those who challenge us socially and economically.
When dealing with artificial intelligence, often tempts you to deal with topics that may become relevant in 20 or 50 years. But this enthusiastic discussion of values about the distant day after tomorrow is always based on the assumption that it is possible to create a machine with its own consciousness.
It is necessary, but not urgent. Likewise, it is of little help to attribute unintended consequences of our own human actions abstractly to some algorithms or seemingly malicious corporations.
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The next three to five years are crucial
What we have to deal with is what will technically happen in the next three to five years. In this short time, some of the biggest societal challenges could be actively solved.
If we ignore this opportunity or postpone this dispute, we run the considerable risk of permanently losing our rank as one of the world’s richest societies with the highest standard of living in a very short period of time.
What do we have to deal with? The technologies available today are sufficient to allow most of the work now done by humans to be carried out autonomously by machines. The striking thing about this fact is that it is not the “simple” jobs that machines do particularly well, but the work that requires a high degree of specialization and a high degree of analytical and abstract thinking.
What if you invest 80 percent of our work in solving the big things that deserve all of our attention? This is not a pretty dream inspired by John Lennon.
Courage and will to change
This is what artificial intelligence can be used for when paired with the rich values of our diversified society, the wealth of experience of the world’s leading companies, large and small, and the good infrastructure.
In Europe, and especially in Germany, we have both prerequisites – the society that has the courage and discipline to represent its values, and the economy that produces the best products and services in the world.
Artificial intelligence is being developed in Europe in recognized companies, renowned research institutions, and in a rapidly growing start-up scene.
One question remains: do we have the will to tackle the necessary changes in our society and industry, or is it more convenient to complain and leave the problem to the next generation? Artificial intelligence definitely offers us the solution. But we have to walk it ourselves.