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What happens when you apply AI without disruption? Spoiler: Nothing!

"The first thing is to figure out the real problem, and the second thing is to develop a smart, creative solution. AI is just the way to execute it," writes Yael Shafrir, Founder and CEO at ReShuffle.

* This article was published on CTECH.

AI has been the new black for a few years now, and one might expect to recognize it for what it truly represents—a revolutionary stage of humanity, the fourth industrial revolution, a new technological era... in other words, everything is now AI. Whether it's in the media, health, commerce, or education, we anticipate that any new development will incorporate AI. Right?

AI is not a standalone field, it’s part of everything

So how come investment firms say that they invest in AI companies? How come governmental offices want to collaborate with AI companies? AI is like the digital revolution, on steroids, meaning everyone should implement AI in whatever they do. Everything will be AI-based, in the same way that you can hardly find any businesses that do not use digital tools.

"Acknowledging the disruption AI will bring to our lives forces us to completely reshuffle our approach to the world’s problems and solutions.", Yael Shafrir, CEO of ReShuffle.

Let’s talk about AI in education as an example - AI should obviously be part of the system. No more manual support by humans if it’s technical and can be done by bots; no more hand-made collateral that can look much better if done by AI; no more long nights of checking quiz-tests, that could be automated and saved to the database without any human involvement… which leads me to the next point.

AI doesn’t mean that we can stop thinking. It’s time to rethink

Although it might feel like AI replaces our own intelligence, it actually couldn't be farther from the truth. Acknowledging the disruption AI will bring to every aspect of our lives forces us to completely reshuffle our approach to mapping the world’s problems and solutions. If in the past we worried about productivity, now we'll be concerned with how to effectively manage our free time. If we used to worry about personalizing the health system to a patient’s history, now we'll worry about the infinite amount of medical data - how to save it, store it, and use it in an efficient manner. The rise of AI means that our challenges are brand new, and we should figure them out from the start.

Another example from the education space: Current education has nothing to do with preparing students for the digital era, not to mention the AI revolution. When considering how to adjust it, we need to first think about the scope of the transformation. Our students will live among robots that can do many things much better than they can. That might mean that we need to look for human abilities that will still outperform. Maybe it's management, maybe it's art, maybe it's therapy… Another direction for exploration is the socio-emotional space. Bots can communicate to a certain technical degree, at least for now, but humans can brainstorm and synergize, pivot the conversation, or get inspired by crossing subjects - maybe AI implementation should focus on developing those skills?

AI calls for creative, transformative implementation, rather than the obvious automation

Addressing the problem is just the beginning. We cannot just replace an old feature that’s already dated, concept-wise, with the same idea - but now using AI. That happens a lot. AI adoption must transcend standardization; it demands transformation. The latest MIT review, focusing on CIOs’ (Chief Information Officers) perspective on Generative AI, starts with this quote stating the obvious: “McKinsey Global Institute estimates that generative AI will add between $2.6 and $4.4 trillion in annual value to the global economy, increasing the economic impact of AI as a whole by 15 to 40%. The consultancy projects that AI will automate half of all work between 2040 and 2060, with generative AI pushing that window a decade earlier than previous estimates.”

"The biggest use cases of AI seems to be bureaucratic processes’ automation, lesson generation, and personalization according to level of proficiency. That lacks disruption."

The focus on automation is actually pretty symbolic. It’s automatic. Instead of thinking about how can we use AI to transform life, we ask how we can automate it all. In my opinion - that’s missing all the fun. With such endless possibilities, we can and should allow ourselves to think outside the box. That same report lists a bunch of applications expected for Generative AI: Generating forecasts for complex scenarios; Analyzing massive volumes of complex and unstructured data; Aggregating key metrics across production systems; Automating the creation of text, charts, and graphs for reports; Analyzing operational concerns, such as inventory and staffing; Optimizing pricing strategies; Auto-generating and adapting contracts… You get the idea.

None of these use cases incorporates neither new problems arising from AI integration or creative AI usage. Maybe instead of analyzing massive volumes of data, it will recommend which data we need to save and which data we can trash - that’s a big concern of the AI era. Maybe instead of automating the creation of texts and graphs for reports - and it’s very clear that we’re going to have way more of these than we can actually consume - it will layer the information, surfacing actionable data or intriguing questions, providing a solution to the endless and sometimes useless information flow we’re going to be dealing with.

Take it to the education space. The biggest use cases of AI seem to be bureaucratic processes’ automation, lesson generation, and personalization according to a student’s level of proficiency. That’s trivial and lacks disruption. Redefining the goals of education in the AI era, reshaping the way AI is integrated into a whole-new curriculum, and redesigning the physical format of learning in an era deeply affected by climate change and geo-political conditions - such thoughts should direct the future AI-based education.

Such thoughts and ideas are not easy to implement in the private sector, even in the ones bringing together the biggest minds and largest investments. Implementing them in the public sector, and especially in the education sector that’s been lagging behind for so many years, is mission impossible. That’s why I believe that a new generation of entrepeneurs and investment companies should arise and join this effort. A generation that believes in long-term goals, tough missions, but ones that will reward them both emotionally and economically. This is the true meaning of impact investment.

Yael Shafrir is an entrepreneur, strategy and marketing consultant, founder and CEO of ReShuffle, an eLearning platform for English skills and personal development.

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