Tuesday, May 18, 2021

AI: From Zeroes and Ones to Heroes

The future ain‘t what it used to be. ~ Yogi Berra

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will likely lead the way to further economic expansion. Today’s AI Revolution is on par with the Agricultural Revolution that occurred during the 18th Century when the simple concept of crop rotation allowed society to reduce famine and feed a growing population. The Industrial Revolution brought us steam power, tools and manufacturing practices that led the way for economic expansion. Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1913 which began the Technology Revolution. In this relatively short timeframe, we’ve seen engines transition from steam, to diesel to batteries. 

Adding an overlay of computer power to these existing advancements could bring us to places we can’t even imagine at this point. In our lifetimes we’ve seen how smaller transistors rocketed computing speed and capabilities exponentially. Artificial Intelligence will likely be the foundation for the next chapter or revolution of economic and technological advancement.

Up until the late 1970s, computer punch cards were typically how humans communicated with computers. Holes were punched into cards made of special heavy stock paper; the series of punches represented a binary code consisting of zeros and ones. The location and absence or presence of data on the card were tabulated and used for data processing. 

Obviously, life is not a binary experience. There are limitations to computer coding consisting only of two digits—zeros and ones. Over time, data processing has transitioned into “non-binary” concepts more accurately reflecting the human experience. Learning from repetition in the environment, computers are now quite clever. Just ask Siri or Alexa a question and you’ll realize how precise and refined human/computer interaction has become. Machines learn with trial and error with the outcome constantly evolving. 

Artificial Intelligence includes voice recognition and situational awareness. Applications include translation and navigation. AI Super Intellect (AISI) is another level whereby tasks based on machine learning implement more intuitive or predictive behavior which is based on experiential learning. Examples of AISI would include automatic acceleration and deceleration while judging distances between self-driving cars. There’s even discussion that at some point humans will no longer need to program AI. AI can evaluate live-data and theoretically take the place of thousands of years of technological advancement in just several days. With an abundance of power and data, computer chips today can execute over 10 trillion calculations per second and create over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day to analyze, synthesize and ultimately utilize for innovation. 

According to International Business Machines, “If every person on Earth completed one calculation per second, it would take 305 days to do what the world’s most powerful computer can do in one second.” In addition, one computer can tap into the collective “consciousness” of all other computers in the same network, allowing machine learning to advance in ways similar to how society has been built with shared experiences and advanced thinking of our predecessors. Collective and shared knowledge makes the sheer scope and scale of AI discoveries unfathomable. 

Vanderbilt’s railroads, Carnegie’s steel mills, Rockefeller’s oil empire, Ford’s auto production and now Bill Gates and Steve Jobs’ software and computer creations will all be remembered as dynamic innovators of economic activity and growth. PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting and consultancy firm, estimates that AIs will increase global GDP by $15.7 trillion by 2030, which is an increase of approximately 20% from today’s total output. Productivity, personalization and product quality will reduce costs and risk while increasing automation, efficiency, profitability and ultimately add value to the end-user or consumer. 

Today, there is still a place for decision-making and communication skills that AI can’t yet replace. In the 19th Century, skilled workers worried that they’d be displaced by machinery and many stormed auto factories destroying equipment in order to “save” their jobs. Obviously, Ford’s assembly line prevailed, arguably for the betterment of all. Also, as farming became less labor-intensive and assembly lines evolved, non-agricultural and non-manufacturing positions absorbed those displaced by factory and farm technological advancements. 

Over 500 years ago, DaVinci’s Automa Cavaliere, the Mechanical Man, imitated human movements and planted the seed for modern robotics. Remote AI-powered robotics are now sophisticated mechanisms performing incredible surgeries, yet they still require a human physician to guide the instruments. Robotics and AIs may possibly open the door for integration between man and machine. Get ready for what could be an entirely new chapter in our evolution. Stay focused and evolve accordingly. 

Information has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the material presented is accurate or that it provides a complete description of the securities, markets or developments mentioned. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or that any of the forecasts mentioned will occur. Economic and market conditions are subject to change. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of capital. Companies engaged in business related to a specific sector are subject to fierce competition and their products and services may be subject to rapid obsolescence. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. The opinions expressed are those of the writer as of February 18, 2020, but not necessarily those of Raymond James and Associates, and are subject to change at any time based on market conditions and other factors. “Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.” This article provided by Darcie Guerin, CFP®, Vice President, Investments & Branch Manager of Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC 606 Bald Eagle Dr. Suite 401, Marco Island, FL 34145. She may be reached at 239-389-1041, email darcie.guerin@raymondjames.com. Website: www.raymondjames.com/Darcie.

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