But is it more reality than fantasy?
Most people use artificial intelligence and probably don’t even realize they’re using it — whether it’s asking Siri a question or trying to avoid a traffic jam using GPS or even using our faces as a password to access our smartphones.
Artificial intelligence is defined as the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. This is already apparent in the workforce, as machines are increasingly building other machines and people are using AI reminders instead of personal assistants.
In certain areas of pathology and radiology, a computer sometimes does a better job detecting cancer in a patient than a doctor does.
“If I have lots and lots of examples of the past of things, skin lesions that were labeled melanoma versus not, I could use all those examples to train a machine and neural network to be able to sort of make a determination as to whether is malign or not,” IBM Director of Research Dario Gill told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo.
IBM Watson office building in downtown with skyscrapers
If you ask Ginni Rometty, who is the CEO of IBM, she believes the health care industry is in dire need of AI to save people’s lives. Her company has been working hard at Watson Health, which focuses on oncology diagnostics.
“We’re now at 300 hospitals and over 125,000 patients around the world where the AI has helped the doctor identify the diagnosis and the appropriate treatment,” Rometty told Bartiromo. “So these are things that you didn’t realize before how either infrequently they were done or not done with precision.”
Some of the AI tech is able to detect the threat of breast cancer, possibly five years in advance.
So is artificial intelligence job-killing or life-saving?
“There’s a monumental societal change happening really right under our nose here,” Meyer, who is also a managing partner at Starship Capital, told Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.” “You see huge efforts in AI happening that’s already affecting the population.”
Meyer notes the use of AI in the workforce is expanding to more industries.
“I think it started for sure in manufacturing,” Meyer said. “Now we’re about to see it in trucking and vehicle driving in the next five years, tops. I think this is where we’re going to see the most societal change in just jobs lost.”
“It will not make economical sense for companies to keep employing these people once the AI gets good enough over the next few years.”
Cabot Phillips, the editor-in-chief of the conservative college news site Campusreform.org, pointed out that the fear about jobs being lost to AI among voters is already having an impact on the upcoming presidential campaign.
“This is now becoming a 2020 political issue,” Phillips said. “In campaigns past, this was such a niche issue, but I think voters are starting to see this as a real concern.”
Phillips pointed to comments by the one tech entrepreneur currently in the Democratic race.
“Andrew Yang and other candidates in 2020 are openly saying automation is going to be one of the biggest things impacting our economy,” Meyer said.
“This is not some niche issue that’s only impacting people in certain fields.”
Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PwC, said America has seen technology change the workplace before, but AI is a different kind of animal.
“Think about the office pool secretaries of the ‘50s using carbon papers that were replaced by photocopiers,” Roschelle said. “That’s a similar shift. But here these are jobs that are going away that may never be replaced.”
So how should workers prepare for the growing AI impact? Meyer has this advice.
“One of the best things employees can be doing right now, especially if you’re in a high-risk position like an Uber or Lyft driver, look for a highly-skilled job that can’t be disrupted,” Meyer said.
FOX Business’ Bill McColl contributed to this report.