Artificial intelligence (AI) will drive global growth over the next decade, delivering a US$14tn boost to the global economy by 2035, according to a report by Accenture, the Dublin-headquartered multinational professional services provider. Expanding on this, Marc Carrel-Billiard, global senior managing director of Accenture Labs, the company’s dedicated technology research division, said there is growing progress in AI-powered automation in call centers. Five years ago, he said, AI bots could only deal with one out of 10 customer phone enquiries, but now they can handle 60% of all such workflow. He also maintained that AI is not likely to lead to job losses at present as it still a specialist rather than generalist, with more work needing to be done to refine its smart capabilities.
Echoing Carrel-Billiard’s sentiments, Gary Marcus, professor of psychology and neural science at New York University and author of Rebooting AI, said the technology, as it stands, is fine for narrowly focused tasks, but not for revolutionizing such areas a transportation or medicine, stressing that deep machine learning does not equate to deep understanding. Indeed, if AI systems are to reach their full potential, Carrel-Billiard believes they need to be become accountable, transparent and free of bias, with nobody likely to trust or use any such systems unless they are deemed to be “responsible.”