Artificial intelligence, the great promise

Artificial intelligence, the great promise


The dizzying advances in computerization arouse much interest; There is a hunger for opportunities. But even technology enthusiasts can end up being overwhelmed by their wheels in motion.

In 2013, researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne published the study The future of employment: how vulnerable are jobs for computerization? One of its most striking conclusions was that 47 percent of all paid work in the United States could end up being executed by machines thanks to the evolution of the faculties of computers. That index must have risen in the last five years due to the advances of the artificial intelligence programmers.

They are mainly the employees in charge of trades characterized by the repetitiveness of their processes those that run the greatest risk of being replaced eventually by powerful computers; These machines are capable of storing large amounts of data and of “learning” to perform complex jobs traditionally dependent on human strength or intellect Clive Thompson, columnist for the specialized journal Wired , predicts that, in the medium term, most of the workers in the United States will be programmers.

Enthusiasm and fear in Germany

But how is the situation in Germany? Zalando virtual store, dedicated to online clothing sales since 2008, plans to replace more than one hundred workers by algorithms and is desperately looking for programmers. According to Moritz Hahn, manager of the company based in Berlin and present in a dozen European countries, the recruitment of potential customers can be orchestrated in a more personalized way based on the data collected so far. And digitization also promotes changes in the classical industry.

The Bavarian Joe Kaeser, head of the multinational company of German origin Siemens, assumes that half of the added value generated by the economy of his country will be lost by 2030 due to computerization. Already in 2016, during a conference on technology, Kaeser warned that “digitalization will destroy medium-sized industry” in a dizzying way, arguing that only one out of ten companies would take advantage of this trend, its warning is dismissed by many enthusiasts of the ones and zeros.

Winners and losers of yesterday and today

In science fiction films, the utopia of machines to which scientists breathe life has been thematised many times. A dream or a nightmare? Or simply the future that will become reality? 

Others argue that the real problem of the national economy against the phenomenon of artificial intelligence is that, apart from SAP – the company dedicated to the design of computerized business management products – there is no other German technological consortium that makes its influence felt in the global scene. In fact, SAP itself has competitors that can attack its weak flanks and snatch market shares using artificial intelligence. The program maker Anaplan is one of them.

Anaplan, whose base is in Great Britain, has just notified that it intends to consolidate its position in the market segment dominated by SAP. Even Zalando, whose business model would not have been viable without the rise of computerization, could be threatened by new cycles of technological development: the more possibilities digitalisation of processes offers, the less necessary intermediaries will be today. As a company, Zalando can suffer the fate that she sealed for traditional stores.

Companies in the financial sector have reacted to this scenario by investing in the creation of decentralized databases, inspired by technology for the generation of cryptocurrencies; at this moment, programmers around the world fine-tune details so that the banking and insurance sectors have fully functional compensation and value-setting systems. But, what will happen then with companies like Clearstream, a subsidiary of the German Stock Exchanges that today makes money with the processing of transactions based on securities? It is too early to know, but not to intuit.

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