Kleine Zeitung: Return to Being Human

Arago CEO Chris Boos is interviewed by the largest regional Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and the possibilities technology offers for humanity. Boos paints a positive outlook for the future since the evolving development of AI would open up the creative potential of humans.

Just before the German general elections in September 2017, Boos wrote an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel stressing the importance of digitization and a new digital agenda for the next government. Yet, society and politicians would concern themselves with small problems, irrelevant for the future. Therefore, Boos stresses the issue of digitization, which he finds to be more than just a question of a fast internet connection. Politicians would have to understand that the digital revolution would not simply replace jobs but create new ones. Societies should get ready for the transformation of digitalization. Not only to secure the current living standards should be the politicians’ focal but also to make people happier and to create more humane working environments through digitalization. Boos is convinced that AI can be to the benefit of humanity and will free up a lot of capacities since most of the jobs done by people today would be done by intelligent machines in the future. Contrary to common perception, Boos does not fear this loss of jobs but sees opportunities for humans to focus on their strengths creativity and the creation of new things. In his point of view, human capacities would represent the exact opposite of machines. In this way, humans could never hand over moral and ethical decisions to machines since these questions could only be decided upon by human societies. Key for this to happen is to educate people about digitalization and to motivate them to take this process into their own hands.

In addition, large digital enterprises such as Google, Amazon or Alibaba would put pressure on traditional companies. The established businesses would have to react quickly to this challenge. They would already know today that change would need to happen. Otherwise, nobody would consume their products anymore. The decision would be to either offer new products and better service or to give in to their fate. Boos also emphasizes that AI could help companies to get on track and to enable them to compete with genuine digital businesses. He extends this assessment also to states. Current economic frontrunners could lose their status if they do not invest in the technology of the future.

Boos emphasizes that the human experience which society accumulated should not be forgotten. This shall even be cherished in an age where machines do the greater proportion of the work. Boos is convinced that by 2050 almost every current human job could be done by a machine. As a result, more curious humans would exist who would explore our environment and want to understand how things function. On the question, if machines will be self-aware fifty years ahead from now Boos is undecided. But he is certain that this development will not happen within the next 15 years. Creativity, he states, is still a unique human capacity and it is not clear if a self-conscious machine will ever think creative. Creativity, art and entrepreneurship would require swimming against the stream.

Arago Redaktion 2. November 2017

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Benedikt Schepp Benedikt Schepp Media Relations bschepp@arago.co