TED Talk: Would You Be Happy To Follow A Robot Leader? [VIDEO]

Theo Priestley

Once upon a time in the future, you will have to choose between a human and an AI to lead a country.

The idea may sound far-fetched, but already some business leaders are predicting that companies will have artificial intelligence (AI) in the boardroom, driving and making strategic decisions. Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, has said he expects to see an AI on Time magazine’s CEO of the Year cover by 2030.

So, could you choose a robot over a human to lead? Or would there be an immediate and unfounded irrational fear that would stop you? Why would we still find it hard to choose between a human or robot leader if big business will one day be run by an AI?

There’s a scary misconception that there will be one God-like AI ruling everything, and this simply isn’t true. We already have several examples of AI evolving, like Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant, never mind the thousands of startups creating chatbots for us to engage with. Even SAP has CoPilot, another example of an AI assistant. There will be many, more sophisticated AIs that evolve and unfold over time, and who knows, a handful of “Super Artificial Intelligences,” but there will never be a “Skynet” overlord.

Why should we fear a world filled with different types of AI when we share a world with different types of humans?

In this TED Talk I explore what artificial intelligence means, how far we really have come in our goals to create true AI, and what the impact of a super intelligence could mean for the definition of our own humanity.

For more on automating ethical choices, see Teaching Machines Right from Wrong.


Theo Priestley

About Theo Priestley

Theo Priestley is Vice President and Global Evangelist for SAP S/4HANA Cloud at SAP. Theo is a recognised industry thought leader and futurist with special interests in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; artificial intelligence; the Internet of Things, Big Data, and cloud technologies and how they all connect. Theo is regarded as one of the Top 100 authorities globally on aritifial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and virtual reality through Onalytica. Theo presents to business and IT audiences around the world and has written articles and commentary for Forbes, Wired, Huffington Post, BBC, and Venturebeat. More recently, Theo has become involved in the technology startup community as an advisor and mentor.