An optimistic outlook for the age of AI

5 CommentsBy

‘The future is upon us.’

That was the eye-catching headline on my New York Times dinner invitation for the opening night of the World Economic Forum annual meeting. Subtitled ‘AI and the new work order’ the dinner helped ensure that the transformational effects of artificial intelligence will feature among the top talking points at Davos this year. AI is driving a wealth of new opportunities, but is also bringing heightened responsibilities to business and governments.

JLL’s event this morning, a collaboration with Harvard Business Review, explored the topic further. Our theme ‘Reimagining work in the age of AI’ was debated in front of a packed room, with a thought-provoking opening presentation by Accenture’s Paul Daugherty, co-author of the book Human + Machine. Paul then participated in a lively panel discussion, also featuring Nielsen CEO David Kenny and JLL’s Vinay Goel, expertly moderated by HBR editor Amy Bernstein. Significantly, this was a panel united in the belief that while AI will continue to bring rapid change to our work and lifestyles, it can create substantial amounts of new employment to offset jobs being lost to automation and digitalization. It is exciting to think how repetitive work will be done by robots and the humans can focus on new types of skilled and rewarding work. The caveat to this thought is the need to re-skill large parts of the existing workforce. It was good to hear today on many different occasions how strongly major corporates are upping their game in training their people.

We need more of this balanced realism – acknowledgement that while change is inevitable and often unsettling, it can be a far more positive experience than many people fear. Ultimately, the age of AI can be strongly beneficial for society, but we do need more focus on reimagining work, with more inspiration and less of the fear factor.

Speaking of reimagining and flexibility, Davos has outdone itself with an extraordinary number of shops and restaurants temporarily converted into exhibition spaces and meeting lounges this year. I don’t know how these retailers normally do with their stores on Davos high street, but most of their annual rent will be paid by the sublease for this week. Maybe a new version of a pop up store?

Christian Ulbrich is JLL’s Global CEO.

For more on our presence at the World Economic Forum, please visit JLL’s Davos 2019 page.

5 thoughts on “An optimistic outlook for the age of AI

  1. Richard Hill

    Thank you for sharing this interesting insight. I think the best way to address the AI fear factor is discussing it openly like you are doing here.

    People really need an informed balanced view, more than ever in the current political climate. If AI can benefit everybody and not just the few, the possibilities will be endless, and fear will not be an issue.

  2. Vivek Jethani

    Digitization is everywhere, but adoption is uneven across companies, sectors, and economies, and the leaders like JLL are capturing most of the benefits. Accelerating progress in AI and automation now bring further opportunities for users, businesses, and the economy. JLL while making progress, is creating footprints in AI across Industry. Though in our world today, the problem of unemployment stares us in the face, a new generation of creative entrepreneurs
    are building businesses in the unconventional way.
    In order to prevent the unthinkable, the educational system must be revamped, possible creation of newer ventures which will compete with robot-driven
    corporations, and also forming powerful collaborations between machines and humans for increased efficiency.

  3. Md Farook Sait

    Change is inevitable:

    the highlight of the blog in gist is :

    “acknowledgement that while change is inevitable and often unsettling, it can be a far more positive experience than many people fear. Ultimately, the age of AI can be strongly beneficial for society, but we do need more focus on reimagining work, with more inspiration and less of the fear factor.”

  4. Shengkai

    In last year’s Singapore Proptech events, I got a glimpse of future from Anthony & Albert’s sharing. Throughout human history, agricultural and industrial revolutions always starts with an improved method, followed by a period of prosperity. Today it’s not a question of if AI will arrive, but rather if we will be ready when it does. The fact AI can literally be applied in all industries does complicate the outlook, keeping everyone on their toes waiting for the next big breakthrough. Am keen to find out how JLL plans to get ready for this technological revolution and ride the next prosperity wave.

  5. Elizabeth RIngbom

    I cannot imagine how exciting it is to be a part of this extraordinary conference of world leaders. Proud of JLL’s representation

    Interested in knowing if there is much substantive discussion on how third world countries will compete in the New World Order of AI when the the digital divide seems to expand on a global level. The acceleration of AI could leave many behind and unable to leap beyond the tasks delegated to AI. I am always curious…

    Elizabeth

Comments are closed.