With Jean Phillip Bernier, physicist, mathematician and administrator of information systems, who was invited to the University by the Mechatronics Engineering program, we address the issue of artificial intelligence (A.I.), the solutions it offers and the technological advances that have come to our daily life.

What is not A.I.?  

We use to think A.I. is what movies like Teminator or the boy David from the  Artificial Intelligence movie, show us. Those are unrealistic artificial intelligences compared to what we can have and do today.

What actually is A.I.?

Artificial intelligence is the ability to reason that a machine can have based on mathematical methods, in other words, they can make a decision, a prediction or a suggestion, executing mathematical algorithms. These mathematical methods have existed for decades, the difference is that nowadays we have the capacity to execute them in many data.

The point is that today we have the data, the algorithm and a very high computing power, so we can have the information in seconds or minutes. But we are still far from having a terminator or an ironman.

What current situations or problems can be solved with A.I.?

We’re working to help entrepreneurs to solve business questions. How can I sell more? Who are my best customers? How can I strengthen my relationship with clients? How can I do my inventory better? How can I optimize my logistics?

A.I. what it does is enable these organizations through the data to take all that information and say "let’s offer these services to these customers" and that will help you increase sales by a little. That is something that the A.I. today manages to do.

Let’s name some examples of how A.I. is present in our daily routine

  • Chat box like Siri, Cortana, Alexa or Google Assistant.

  • That function on the cameras that identify how many people are in the photo you’re about to take. That is computational vision.  

  • When you add photos on Facebook, and the social network identifies who are they and it suggest you who to tag. That's artificial intelligence of facial recognition.

  • Mercedes created a system to identify when the driver fall asleep. When that happens, the rudder vibrates to wake the person up and if the person doesn’t wake up, the car stops alone.

  • The Advertising that shows up on your phone according to your preferences or recent searching.

An example made in Colombia?

There is a Colombian venture called Acount Go. They are automating accounting. You take the photo of a receipt and send it to an email and he converts it into an accounting transaction, understanding the transaction without having to type any information, at the same time as it predicts taxes, sales, expenses, cash flows.

Will humans be replaced by A.I?

There are always humans behind planning and design A.I. ideas. But A.I. will substitute operative work. Those repetitive works that do not create any value, are highly potential to be replaced by artificial intelligence. According to Forbes, A.I. will end 1.8 million jobs by 2020. But it also has the possibility of creating 2.3 million new jobs.

This is an industrial revolution that’s why it’s called the fourth industrial revolution, the digital transformation is not only for companies, it’s also for people. If we do not improve our soft skills, doing things that artificial intelligence can not emulate, in order to create better business opportunities or create value, the A.I. will ​​replaces us.

Today is easy to develop soft skills. If you are looking to learn something you will find tutorials on YouTube to develop that skill or acquire that knowledge, you don’t even have to think about paying for a study, just access the internet, find the answer and practice. It’s not about they are going to replace me and they must give me a solution, I am the solution, I must evolve to a new model of thought.

How is it that social areas are integrated into something as technological as A.I.?

With people not everything can be defined with a mathematical algorithm, we have to extrapolate the human behavior to a rigid language like mathematics, that means we must have an interdisciplinary team that understands human behavior. A psychologist, a psychiatrist, a philosopher, a sociologist can help to translate human behavior into numbers.

It’s important to unite many areas of knowledge because A.I. is not just writing code, it means integrating several areas.

Are the universities preparing professionals for these challenges?

There are very few universities that are preparing their students for A.I. Universities prepare us to write the code but they do not prepare us in how we collaborate with an artificial intelligence.

Let's say that a professional comes to his first work experience and is going to receive orders from an artificial intelligence. How is he going to feel? Universities have a great opportunity in this field.

Read the spanish version here.