Александр Марченко / stock.adobe.com
The UK recently hosted a global Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety summit to address the concerns and opportunities around the irrefutable impact that the wider use of AI will have on all our lives and, according to many, this will not be too far into the future.
Technology has always fascinated me – I am a complete geek when it comes to technology and do not mind admitting it. My very first career success was working in the VCR industry, and for those too young to know what a VCR is, I guess Smart TVs and streaming channels would be today’s equivalent.
Undoubtedly, continued advances in technology and particularly in AI, will impact the way we currently conduct business across all sectors.
Once I had the opportunity to move into the tanning bed industry (that is a story for another time) you can only imagine my absolute delight at visiting the JK Group’s factory in Germany. The innovation, precision engineering equipment, in fact the entire production process never ceases to avidly claim my attention. I was there in October for an exciting new product launch and there can be no doubt – when I walk into the factory, I am literally like a child in a toy store with eyes out on stalks!
However, according to the tech billionaire Elon Musk, we are to be one of the last generations to experience this buzz – and not just in a technology environment, but in any workplace. As part of the AI summit mentioned, Mr. Musk was interviewed, somewhat interestingly by our Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP, during which he delivered a rather bleak predication that tech will eventually make all paid work redundant.
Call me old-fashioned, but I simply cannot agree with this.
Undoubtedly, continued advances in technology and particularly in AI, will impact the way we currently conduct business across all sectors. Properly regulated (and therein lies a further topic for another time), I believe AI has the potential to be of benefit to all industries and sectors, from education and research to, well quite frankly, anything you want to think of. But it is completely understandable that, as with most things in life and certainly with regard to AI, a fear of the unknown has the capacity to make individuals, companies and even governments somewhat anxious.
But for all paid work to be redundant? I personally can never envisage a time when humans will not desire and seek interaction with other humans in their everyday activities, unless of course, you are a hermit. Indeed, the pandemic taught us this oh-so-very recently: the less opportunity there is for human connection, the more we will simply desire and need it. And I reiterate interaction with humans, not robots.
As such, whilst in our tanning salons we may welcome the advantages of AI and other technology to make our businesses more efficient and effective – I cannot imagine anyone, as an example, losing any sleep over never having to clean a tanning bed ever again because a “cleaning robot” will do it. But one thing I believe is for sure, there will never be a successful replacement for the valued and desired human interaction that delivers the advice, information, guidance and understanding provided by our professional human salon staff.
All those in agreement say “Aye” – not AI.
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary is Managing Director of the UK subsidiary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products and spray systems. He is also Chairman of the Media Committee for the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
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