How Wrong We All Are

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How wrong…

A recent report suggests that the generative AI sector could hit $98.1bn by 2026, with a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%.

Despite the “AI” term emerging a long 68 years ago, it seems to be finally making a splash. It was largely an academic pastime until recently. Until it woke up…

Experts now fret about a ‘general intelligence’ and whether it would be humankind’s friend or foe. World leaders such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates regularly speak out about the severe existential threat to humanity (despite Microsoft recently investing $10bn into OpenAI).

Closer to home, many now wonder if AI might take their job, or at least nibble at the edges. There is a chance that with autonomous cars, robotics, and AI, many millions of blue- and white-collar jobs could be lost.

Will there be new jobs to replace the old? Or will we all become artisans, entertainers, hobbyists, and baristas in a new age of Universal basic income (UBI) and global affluence??

Who knows?

And honestly, no one really does know.

Sounded good at the time

History is littered with humourous examples of experts sharing their wisdom. If history is anything to go by, it’s better to claim ignorance than to offer any clarity on future events.

Here are a few awkward moments:

  • 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, president of IBM.
  • 1992: “The idea of a personal communicator in every pocket is a “pipe dream driven by greed.” — Andy Grove, then CEO of Intel.
  • 1995: “I predict the Internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” — Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, inventor of Ethernet.
  • 1949: “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics.
  • 1977: “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, a predecessor of Compaq.
  • 1989: “We will never make a 32-bit operating system.” – Bill Gates
  • 2007: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” — Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.

And it has never been any different:

  • 1876: “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, chief engineer, British Post Office.
  • 1903: “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty — a fad.” — President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company.
  • 1946: “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Darryl Zanuck, film producer, co-founder of 20th Century Fox.

As Steve Jobs says, “You can only connect the dots looking backward.” People tend to dramatically underestimate the capabilities and likely impact of things that have not yet emerged.

Regardless, the AI genie is out of the bottle and is here to stay.

The question for your business

Is your business embracing AI?

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About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.