Why AI is like a 1980s car wash

Iain McCracken, Managing Director of FMC Global Talent recruitment and headhunting specialists.
Iain McCracken, Managing Director of FMC Global Talent

The latest technology can still lead me to regress to the mindset of a 6 year old on Christmas Eve. Most recently I could, on occasion, be found with my nose pressed against the window awaiting the imminent delivery of my Samsung Note 8. Beyond being another fad, technology enhances the lives of millions of people every day. All too often vilified, if employed correctly, technology quite simply makes our lives better.

Viva la revolución!

Often without noticing we continue to be swept up in the tide of the technology revolution, which many years from now will be studied alongside the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The rate of change is blisteringly fast, and because we are firmly amongst it, it can be hard to realise quite how swiftly things are progressing.

What’s so great about bots?

Alongside the positive advancements we are benefiting from in health, education, business and general quality of life, there also come failures and false starts. We need the dreamers to push the boundaries of technological advancement to access the benefits. However, all too often the hype that precedes it fails to deliver. The latest panacea to all the world’s ills is Artificial Intelligence. This disruptive technology promises to change the fabric of society and infiltrate every aspect of our lives as we seek to replace a human interface with a faultless computer. In every sector, in every boardroom, the promise of AI is being discussed and the proponents of it continue to bang the drum of change.

Let’s be realistic…

Alas, the reality is unlikely to deliver on these expectations within the foreseeable future. While many businesses seek to integrate and implement AI technology, the user experience is bound to suffer. The challenge for these early adopters will be that with the level of investment and restructuring required, turning back to a human interface will be a tough decision. Businesses are likely to seek differentiation not due to their level of AI, but rather their lack of it. Humans, while undoubtedly flawed, remain hard to replicate through computer chips and circuit boards. There is no doubt that AI may replace simple and repetitive functions, working in harmony with real people, but it won’t replace them.

I remember as a child in the 1980s the excitement of going to the car wash with my Dad. I was amazed by the technology of this giant robot, with its towering brushes cleaning our Ford Granada. Last weekend I was sat in my car, next to a long since abandoned car wash, waiting for a team of guys to hand wash my car. Although the technology exists, people can just do it better. There is every chance that if we don’t take the right approach and use AI as a complementary technology rather than as a replacement, it will go the same way as the 1980s car wash.

FMC Global Talent continues to be a ‘people first’ firm that helps clients in sourcing and selecting real people. Our advice to clients is that they don’t give up on humankind just yet. Drop us a line to see how we can help.