Computer science expert predicts sweeping disruption from AI

computer science AI disruptionsA computer science expert with UW-Madison predicts AI advancement will lead to massive disruptions in the “social fabric” of the country and world, in much the same way as the industrial revolution did more than 200 years ago.

Prof. Patrick McDaniel, the Tsun-Ming Shih Professor of Computer Sciences in the university’s School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences, shared his outlook on the fast-growing technology during a recent Wisconsin Alumni Foundation webinar.

His experience in this area includes working on a national strategy document around AI for the White House in 2017, when the potential for the technology was becoming more clear.

“What we’re seeing is the beginning of what we call social disruption … What we’re going to see is a change in the very nature of work,” he said last week.

Just as the transition from a largely agricultural society to an industrial society led to a huge boost in productivity starting in the late 1700s, McDaniel says market forces resulting from AI being much cheaper than human labor will do the same across many industries. These include health care, finance, insurance, marketing, education, e-commerce, manufacturing and transportation.

“I wouldn’t look at this as simply a loss, but this is a recalculation, a recalibration of our society. And perhaps leading to a renaissance,” McDaniel said. “What if we could spend much more of our time, the vast majority of our time, in more creative, more inventive, more innovative endeavors?”

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