Long touted as the next big thing, with visions of super-intelligent machines providing services and performing tasks that rival or outstrip human capabilities, the reality of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has not yet matched up to those dramatic expectations. Recent developments in machine learning, combined with the availability of enormous amounts of data, computing power and storage capacity, are producing extremely powerful super computers which can recognize patterns and use algorithms to solve complex problems with no, or very limited, human intervention. We are witnessing an AI revolution, with the next generation of machines possessingnear-perfect computer vision, object recognition and speech and language capabilities. Decision-making will draw on big data to be “smarter” than what is possible for human beings restricted by their physical and physiological limitations. From objects around us communicating with each other to learn from patterns in the environment to failsafe driverless cars, the possibilities for improving how we live our lives seem endless. What are the key opportunities and challenges ahead? In a world where anything thatcan be automated, will be automated, how will existing labour, economic and social systems be profoundly affected? Will AI be the domain of big business alone, or will it be effective on a smaller scale? How do governments, industries and individuals stand to benefit? What are the emerging policy and regulatory challenges?
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