Musk, Dimon Bold AI Predictions–Reality vs. Hype

Earlier this month, two highly prominent business leaders, Elon Musk and Jamie Dimon, made bold predictions about AI (Artificial Intelligence). This led to much discussion about whether their views about the technology’s future are realistic or not. However, when analyzing this situation, the case can be made that their bold predictions encompass a bit of both reality and hype. Here’s why.

Before delving into their bold AI predictions, I’ll briefly touch on the background of these two prominent business leaders. Elon Musk heads Tesla, X (once Twitter), SpaceX as well as the AI company XAI, and he is one of the richest men in the world. Jamie Dimon is the executive who heads JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank.

Musk and Dimon are making bold predictions about AI, such as saying that AI will soon be smarter than humans and will transform society. Musk says AI may be smarter than humans by the end of next year. Dimon said that AI will be as transformative as other major technological innovations such as electricity, the steam engine, the internet, and the printing press. As a result of these prognostications, there has been considerable discussion about whether the bold predictions are realistic and actually likely to happen, or whether they are overstated, and essentially hype.

Before getting into my analysis of the bold AI predictions, I’ll provide a little bit about my background. Early in my career, I held a position that today would be called a data scientist. Additionally, I am the author of a peer reviewed article about data’s use, which was published in a marketing research periodical, and my article was cited in at least one academic textbook about AI.

As I see it, the bold AI predictions by Musk and Dimon entail a bit of both reality and hype. In reality, there already are examples of AI being able to do things that humans could not do.  This offers some support to the notion of AL being smarter than humans. However, today’s AI is not always smarter than humans. It is only sometimes smarter than humans. There are still things that humans can do, but AI cannot do. This is why combining AI with human input has often been more successful than using AI alone. Yet, like new technologies overall, AI continues to improve. So, predictions that AI will be getting smarter are likely to come true.

Will AI soon be smarter than humans? That’s harder to predict, but based on what’s out there now, it looks like there is still a long way to go before AI becomes smarter than humans overall. We must remember that the bold prediction about AI soon becoming smarter than humans was made by Elon Musk. Musk is someone who appears to be a strong believer in new technologies and who is willing to invest in and develop them during early stages when many others still don’t see the new technology’s potential.  Yet, technologies that Musk believes in and backs early can take a long time to reach fruition. This has been the case with his efforts in driverless cars, which seem to be taking far longer than expected.  And, it may very well be that, like driverless cars, AI getting smarter than humans overall may take much longer than Musk thinks it will.

Still, progress will be made and AI will improve. As this happens, AI will change our world, even if AI doesn’t become smarter than humans overall. Some of these changes may be transformative, like Jamie Dimon predicts when he says AI has the potential to transform society much like other major new technologies did in the past.

At the same time, a lot of hype is out there saying that AI will soon be replacing all of us. This hype about AI is coming from many different sources, not necessarily from Musk and Dimon. However, based on the AI that is visibly out there now, we are nowhere near replacing everyone with AI. Yes, there are some things AI can do well, and this can replace some people. But, AI can only do what is based on the data it was trained on. This training takes time. And, more recently, we have been hearing of the need to build more and more data centers to handle all of the data training that smarter AI will require. This raises the question of whether and how much AI’s progress might slow due to data center capacity issues.

Nonetheless, technology will advance and AI will do more and more. Predicting how fast AI will advance, how smart it will eventually get, and how it will end up transforming society is beyond the scope of this blog post. But, it is likely that AI will get smarter and may have the potential for transformational change.


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