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### AI’s Interest in You: Being Insecure Doesn’t Mean You’re Safe

Brit telco BT’s digital boss asks people ‘how did horses feel when cars were invented? …

The chief digital innovation officer of BT is urging individuals to refrain from lamenting the potential displacement of humans in the workforce by AI, drawing a comparison to how horses did not protest when cars were introduced.

Harmeen Mehta, the incumbent in the newly established role at BT since 2021, engaged in a discussion with Raconteur recently regarding the internet’s role in shedding light on the downsides of AI.

Mehta conveyed to the publication, “Society adapts and work evolves.” Reflecting on the past, she remarked, “I’m not certain how horses reacted to the advent of cars, but they did not bemoan being let go or stage strikes. It’s an evolutionary process. Certain roles will evolve, new ones will emerge, and some may become obsolete.”

She expressed concerns about the media in the country fueling unwarranted fears that could paralyze the nation, emphasizing that the issue is more emotionally charged for her than personally impactful. Mehta dedicated the past couple of years to persuading her employer that artificial intelligence and human intellect can coexist harmoniously.

A statement from BT’s director affirmed, “Harmeen used a metaphor to elaborate her point.” Historically, people have acquired new skills during industrial transitions, leading to the creation of fresh job opportunities. BT Group looks forward to fostering a collaborative environment where human and artificial intelligence complement each other effectively in the future. The company is committed to working closely with its partners to navigate this AI-driven transformation, particularly as it gains momentum in the coming years.

“In the realm of AI, we are integrating coaching into our initiatives through the MyCampus software to ensure our employees are equipped with the latest knowledge to leverage the benefits of the ongoing industrial revolution and position themselves at the forefront of this emerging AI era.”

Casual observers may not have inferred that BT is in the midst of a transformative phase centered on AI adoption, which could potentially impact a significant number of employees.

CEO Philip Jansen believes that there is a significant opportunity for BT to enhance its performance through AI utilization, stating in May that “we stand to gain immensely from AI.”

Richard Holway, president of TechMarketView who is transitioning into retirement, posed a thought-provoking question: “But didn’t horses simply accept being replaced by vehicles and move forward?” He highlighted an interesting observation that the global horse population today is half of what it was before the automobile was invented, indicating a pragmatic adaptation by the animals. This analogy may not be as far-fetched as it initially seems.

Elon Musk recently made a stark proclamation, asserting that “no jobs will be necessary” in the future, underscoring the real and imminent threat posed by AI to traditional employment paradigms.

Holway, with his wealth of experience, remains skeptical of doomsday predictions surrounding technological advancements. He remains optimistic, asserting, “It’s unlikely to materialize. There will always be new avenues for employment, and most individuals derive satisfaction from gainful employment.”

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Last modified: December 19, 2023
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