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Old Economy! New Economy! Intelligent Economy?

2021-05-28 by Philipp Block (LinkedIn | Twitter)

Artificial intelligence solutions do not require radical upheaval or realignment.

Do you remember the hype and panic when digitalisation shook the economy to its foundations and changed it? New Economy was the buzzword just 25 years ago. And now? Intelligent Economy is the coming challenge - and it is much easier to master. Without panic, but with deserved hype.

You may also remember: With the turn of the year 1999-2000, quite a few doomsday predictions were spread. “Y2K” was the name given to this apocalyptic scenario. Because the first computers and IT systems were only designed for years up to 1999. It was feared that planes would crash worldwide on New Year’s night because their computers would fail. That the banking system would collapse, that insurance companies would collapse because of it. The focus was also on the health system: for example, that ventilators in intensive care units would shut down punctually at midnight. It even went so far as to fear that refrigerators and toasters would stop working.

Artificial Intelligence: the new Y2K?

Well, we all know what happened to those fears. Artificial intelligence is currently attributed a similarly apocalyptic significance. Horror scenarios like “Terminator” are often used as examples. Doomsday prophets regularly define “Judgement Day”, i.e. when AI takes over and enslaves humanity. They do this regularly because they have to postpone Judgement Day all the time. No wonder, because it is different from the change from the old economy to the new economy.

There is no sudden change, nor is there a specific date for anything. The transition from the old to the new economy was intense, it was rapid, and it presented the economy with immense challenges almost out of nowhere. The increase in solutions and opportunities that artificial intelligence is opening up is more to be understood as a progressive process. Now, quite apart from these horror scenarios.

No breathing space, history is being made, things are moving forward!

The transformation to the Intelligent Economy will not be an extreme long jump with a shortened run-up. They are small steps on a long path without definable goals. They are baby steps. It is not the case that suddenly there will be only one small computer in university libraries instead of 25 metres of note boxes. Nor is it the case that countless jobs will be destroyed as a result (an equally popular horror scenario). On the contrary: AI and above all NLP, Natural Language Processing, enable people to work more productively and efficiently.

Companies can use it to optimise processes, better manage business development, react adequately and economically to constantly changing situations, and and … Slowly, not in one fell swoop that changes everything. It does not require a radical change. At most in thinking … For example, AI solutions can be successively integrated into business processes, according to individual requirements. And are then adapted and scaled, depending on the development.

Evolutionary or revolutionary?

Both! AI has the potential for revolutionary changes. But these are progressing in a linear fashion. I dare to suggest that there will be no big bang in the development of AI in the near future. Instead, there will be many smaller successes that advance one after the other. Philosophically, this can be seen as either an evolutionary revolution or a revolutionary evolution. In any case, however, the shift towards the Intelligent Economy will be much less dramatic in perception, but more significant in meaning. Small things that can do big things.

Whether talking refrigerators or tweeting toasters fall into the category of horror, dream, madness or super! is, of course, up to each person. But it certainly won’t end the world. We’ve already had that.