Back in the day, artificial intelligence was little more than a blip in the technology radar. Researchers, of course, were not content to leave it that way, though. Through incredible cooperation and perseverance, they advanced computer technology to the point of creating the ‘supercomputer’ Deep Blue, and in 1997, that computer famously beat Grandmaster and former World Champion Garry Kasparov and in a game of chess.
The whole world shuddered with dread at the idea that computers were going to rival the human brain and make people obsolete.
It’s been 20 years since Deep Blue claimed victory. And as Kasparov points out in his recent piece in The Wall Street Journal , the worry that AI is going to somehow outpace human beings is still widespread. But incredibly, Kasparov isn’t worried. In fact, he believes computers and AI will help us embrace everything that human beings actually are. They’ll do that, he says, by freeing us from “menial” cognition, thereby giving us the time and mental energy to focus on what’s beautiful and makes us happy. That includes investigating what we’re curious about and being creative.
Did you catch that?
Machines don’t necessarily kill creativity and innovation. They create a path toward it.
Look at it this way. What’s the first thing any good executive or manager does when they are overwhelmed? They think about what only they reasonably can do, prioritizing certain jobs over others. Then they delegate the jobs someone else can handle and focus on what’s truly only within their skill set. And that’s what we’ll do with computers and AI. We’ll give them the jobs they can handle and focus on things they can’t. Things like empathy. Imagination. Play. Jobs will still be there. They’ll just be different. And because people are the real source of innovation, we’re in complete control of how that “different” is defined. So the question isn’t whether AI will compete with us, but rather how we will choose to have it support us. And that, to echo Kasparov, is brilliance.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.