Fries with that? Here’s how lunch at McDonalds might prevent A.I. from replacing humans


HIGH POINT — One of the common conversations around artificial intelligence (AI) is that the technology — which is by most accounts developing more quickly than its creators imagined — is going to replace humans in many categories. However, Christoph Burkhardt, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker for the 2023 Innovation Event in Las Vegas, says it’s not quite that simple.

“Many people are confused about how AI works, particularly with the rise of large language models that generate human-like content, and some believe that AI can learn like humans and will eventually replace us,” Burkhardt told Furniture Today. “However, physical experiences and emotions drive our learning, which AI can mimic but never truly understand. An AI, for example, will not understand the sensations of eating a burger or skiing. As a result, it cannot fully replicate human experiences.”

Burkhardt, author of three books including “Don’t Be a Robot: Seven Survival Strategies in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” works with Fortune 500 companies around the world to create “future proof” business strategies and technology applications. And while he understands that it can be difficult to separate hype from fact when it comes to AI, Burkhardt thinks it offers valuable opportunities to create new efficiencies.

“Some people see generative AI as nothing more than a tool for creating text, images, or videos, when it is much more than that,” Burkhardt explained. “Language models exist because humans express their knowledge through language; thus, understanding language was essential for these systems to effectively communicate with us. Learning generative AI is similar to learning a programming language that can be applied to a variety of settings and challenges, making them fundamental building blocks for sharing, storing, and analyzing data.

“While it is true that certain tasks may become obsolete due to automation efficiency improvements, if we develop collaborative systems between humans and machines, both parties could create better outputs together rather than individually replacing one another,” he concluded. “We hear a lot about about 40% of jobs being replaced by AI. In reality, it is 40% of all our individual tasks that will be impacted by the introduction of artificial intelligence within every industry.”

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