How To Think About Artificial Intelligence

Philip Kim CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, RICP®, CRES |

Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence?  Is this the beginning of the end?  Will the apocalyptic storyline of the Terminator film franchise come to fruition while we are still here?  Of course, no one knows the answer to these questions; but for many of us, these are the conversations that are being had every day.

It is fascinating to pan back and look at technological improvements since the beginning of the 20th century. The world has become incredibly small with the advancements in transportation, communication, and commerce.  It is unimaginable for the youth of today to consider a time when messages were conveyed via hand or the Postal Service, when today humans communicate almost instantaneously via social media.

Since computer technology first originated, this inexorable march towards artificial intelligence, fueled by industry‘s desire to make machines faster and smarter, was practically preordained. Books and movies have been written about computer intelligence, hearkening back to the science fiction days of Isaac Asimov.

So, is it really all that surprising that artificial intelligence has surfaced as a red-hot topic in public discourse?  The reality is that this technology has not suddenly snuck up on us. It has been contemplated and debated for years. The public awakening has been largely turbocharged by the realization that major companies are spending billions on AI to upgrade their efficiencies in a competitive marketplace. 

AI is not going to go away.  It is already impacting virtually every corner of industry – education, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, government, communication, and so on.  Let’s face it – we have been unsuspectingly integrated into an increasingly AI-fueled world with technologies such as Face ID on your mobile phone, your area’s traffic grid, Siri and Alexa, online shopping, and your favorite navigation app. 

Of course, the threat of machine intelligence will give rise to risks that we are not yet prepared to grapple with.  We will need to be responsible as a collective human race to ensure that this technology is not abused or deployed with the wrong intent.  Governments, companies, and society will have to treat this technology not as a plaything, but as a bona fide tool of either evolution or destruction.

What we can do as investors and consumers is to accept this as part of our everyday life.  It is potentially a mistake to view AI as a scourge of mankind, simply because there are so many ways to positively apply this technology.  The hope is that machine learning will continue to help make our lives easier and more productive.  And, if we manage AI responsibly, it will never replace the importance of the human touch.



5937588.1 (9/23) (Exp. 09/25)