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Artificial intelligence? I don’t think so!

1 June 2023

Artificial intelligence? I don’t think so!

I keep reading how artificial intelligence (AI) is going to do us all out of our jobs. Really? 

For one thing, computer systems and online platforms can obviously be developed and programmed to find answers to pre-populated questions, but to be genuinely useful it has to be done very thoroughly and kept updated. 

When using online banking recently to enquire about using my credit card overseas, the all-too-friendly (and rather annoying) pop-up chatbot kept referring me to a web page that no longer existed. So next day I phoned a genuinely friendly human in the bank (my original enquiry having been outside office hours) and they answered my query immediately. 

Humans 1, AI 0.

And there are many tasks that AI just can’t perform at all. 

This was highlighted to me recently when a hirer told me how a customer had ordered battery powered equipment for a site and treated it in much the same way as they would a petrol or diesel counterpart. They hadn’t realised the importance of ensuring the battery was never depleted below a certain level, or that solar panels deployed on the site had to be positioned correctly and kept clean for optimum performance. 

And above all, the user didn’t appreciate the limits of the system in terms of loading and available power. 

While some of the information on such factors could be standardised or automated, many details cannot be in a meaningful way. The need for consultancy services, site visits and specific advice will remain – ironically, all the more so as technology evolves. 

Humans 2, AI 0. 

And of course, in the event of a power outage or a system breakdown (does anyone remember the banking group TSB’s IT debacle in 2018, which lasted several weeks and caused huge financial problems for many customers?), AI will struggle at the very least. Perhaps the clue is in the word ‘artificial’. 

Humans 3, AI 0. 

Mind you, if any AI system would like to take over what I do in sourcing, researching, writing and following up stories on my blog, I urge it to get in touch. 

Photo: Gerd Altmann 


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