There’s a lot of talk about AI these days, and for good reason. Some of the talk is about predictions of automation and job loss. Some of it is about the possibility of AI consciousness. And some of it is just off-the-wall conspiracy theory stuff most of us would be best off to ignore altogether. While I do acknowledge that AI has some potential concerns—especially as it relates to ethics and misinformation—here, I’d like to focus on the many positives of AI. Because truly—for every negative associated with AI, there are multiple good things already improving the quality of business for companies, and the quality of life for humans, worldwide.
Positives of AI for Business: Deeper Knowledge
One of the most obvious positives of AI, to me, is the fact that it is empowering businesses everywhere to gain even deeper understanding about their customers. It’s allowing companies to meet their customers where they are—in the most literal sense—be it outside the movie theater, on their drive home from work, on their couch in the family room. And companies are able to offer their customers deals, products, and opportunities that truly matter to them. Yes, there is bad AI. Yes, I do get personalized marketing that is “off.” But by and large, as AI quality and data processing improve, businesses will be able to do much more effective marketing, and customers will be able to receive only the marketing that actually pertains to them. Which is pretty awesome.
Plus from the consumer standpoint, isn’t it pretty great to get a discount for something you buy regularly? I think so!
Positives of AI for Business: It’s Making Work Less Tedious
Nothing has been more welcome in my company than automation and AI. It has made the lives of our employees so much easier. They can pass off tedious, repetitive tasks and focus on things that really matter. From small things like creating a bit.ly for a blog article we’ve created, to larger things like email database management, we have programs that help us do all of that.
Positives of AI for People: It’s Making Life Safer
On almost every level, AI has the potential to make life safer for people. This is especially true in the area of dangerous jobs—such as military work, engineering and construction work, and policing. As robots are able to take a first-responder role in doing the jobs that people have had to risk their lives for thousands of years, we can all be grateful for the lives it saves. In addition to frontline work, AI is helping people train on jobs in a safer way—for instance, preparing for flight, space travel, and even performing medical procedures.
Outside of the work arena, AI is almost making it safer to live in our neighborhoods and communities. Smart cameras can be found all over cities throughout the world, helping alert law enforcement to potential hazards, and helping to identify suspects in certain cases.
Positives of AI for Business: Creating a More Diverse Workforce
Most of us know humans can be biased, which can create problems at work. We tend to want to hire people who are like us—who agree with us—who want the same things we do. However, we also know that diversity is what strengthens an organization. Differing opinions make ideas stronger. Differing viewpoints make products better. Using AI, companies are able to remove human bias from the hiring process—at least to a degree. Yes, algorithms can be biased, as we’ve learned. But after some false starts, I think we’ll see some improvements in AI-based recruitment, especially in the area of recruitment for diversity.
Positive of AI for People: Democratizing Healthcare
Currently, those who live in rural areas have far less access to quality healthcare. In fact, information from the Center for Disease Control shows 20 percent of Americans have no access to a doctor at all. One of the positives of AI is that it helps democratize healthcare by making remote and mobile health a reality. Using AI, doctors in distant cities can be notified in real-time on the health matters of their patients and give insights, advice, diagnoses, etc., to those who need them.
Positive of AI for People: Aging in Place
Research shows most older people want to age in their own homes. And thanks to AI and other new technologies, that’s increasingly possible. Because AI can help remind those suffering from dementia to take their medications, eat their meals, and even find their TV remote, it’s offering new levels of independence to those who may traditionally had to live with friends or in assisted living communities. Other positives of AI include being able to remotely monitor our loved one’s health, arrange food and transportation, and even notify loved ones when the older person is walking and may be in danger of a fall. That type of freedom is priceless for aging people.
Positive of AI for People: Coding for Disaster Response
You may have been following the annual Call for Code event, which allows developers around the world to gather together to build apps and new technologies to help with global disasters. Though it’s only been around a few years, some of its solutions are already being put to work, creating real-life answers to problems like finding victims following a disaster, accessing the Internet when most WiFI options would be inaccessible, and divvying up resources following an emergency. This isn’t just cool; it will literally save lives.
We tend to think of AI as synonymous with automation. But the truth is, that is such a small piece of what AI can do now, let alone what we still have left to discover about its capabilities. There are many positives of AI to be excited about today. The above are just a few.
The original version of this article was first published on Forbes.