Only Humans Need Apply

Asus M169 USB Monitor

As a long-time fan of Eva, I feel like I’m committing adultery today by taking the new China Airlines non-stop service to from Taipei to London for the first time. As loath as I am on missing out on a few thousand Star Alliance air miles, the five-hour difference in flight length was enough for me to make the switch. Let’s see if I made the right choice!

One of my biggest banes when traveling is having to work using a single notebook screen, so for this trip I’ve acquired a USB display from Asus to connect to my Microsoft Surface. From the limited testing I carried out, the graphics performance seems OK. It’s also pretty light to carry, though I do have to admit I’m concerned about breaking it if I’m not careful. It will be interesting to see how I feel about it after using it for two weeks.

During my flight, I’m hoping to finish Only Humans Need Apply by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby. This is one of a slew of recent books that have come out addressing the topic of AI, and even though I have only completed about half of it I feel confident in saying that is definitely among the best of them thanks to its relatively jargon-free style and its focus on providing practical advice on how we can best navigate the uncertainties that the technology is creating.

The authors argue that while there is no doubt that AI will eliminate routine tasks that can be easily codified, it also offers the possibility of making your job much more rewarding by eliminating drudge work and providing you with the tools and information you need to engage in more creative thinking and more effective decision-making. The “A” in AI, therefore, is as much about “automation” and “augmentation” as “artificial” – if not more so.

Of course, implementation will prove more difficult in practice than theory. The key is developing the right mindset towards understanding and applying the technology to your work and indeed your personal life so that you can become a master rather than a slave to it. No doubt I’ll be returning to this topic in future entries, but now my AI assistant is telling me that I have a plane to catch.

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