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Gartner: Predicting What Technology Will Do Is Much Easier Than Predicting What Humans Will Do With It

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Here at Gartner we make a lot of predictions. I jumped in feet first as co-lead author of our Software Adoption predicts and have been closely watching the predictions on AI.

I’ve noticed a single factor that divides these predictions: whether they depend on the human element or not. If the topic is purely technical, like predicting what self-driving cars will be able to do on a test track in ten years, the human element is fairly low. Sure, the brilliance of the engineers, tenacity of the project managers, and ability of the execs to keep the business afloat long enough to see it through all play in. But mostly that’s a prediction about what the technology will be capable of.

Compare that to predicting how many self-driving cars will be on the road in ten years. Now you’ve introduced humans into the equation and certainty goes out the window. Technological feasibility is just the bar of entry to a morass of social, political, and psychological considerations – human issues – that greatly decrease the confidence interval of the prediction.

The easiest way to approach a prediction including humans is to “assume” them out. Assume the human response will be rational, intelligent (or informed), benevolent, and unimpeding of technological progress (RIBU? I’d come up with an acronym for NONLUDDITE, but I don’t have time for that).

Artificial intelligence (or automation, or robots) invite many predictions about what they will be able to do. And that’s a start. But now, if the technology turns out to be powerful, companies may be smart about it or stupid; governments may be smart or stupid. Predicting the effect isn’t just about what the tech will do – it’s a prediction of how humans will behave when thrown a powerful new toy.edict this is going to be interesting.

Read the entire article here, Predicting What Technology Will Do Is Much Easier Than Predicting What Humans Will Do With It

Via the fine folks at Gartner.

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Gartner Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. The company delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in approximately 10,000 distinct enterprises worldwide. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 8,300 associates, including more than 1,800 research analysts and consultants, and clients in more than 90 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

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