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The Emerging AI Divide

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The Emerging AI Divide

In the past, technology experts and economists have expressed concern over the “digital divide” – the gap between...

3 Minutes Read

In the past, technology experts and economists have expressed concern over the “digital divide” – the gap between those who can access computers and the internet and those who cannot. As artificial intelligence (AI) proliferates into our personal and work lives, the divide is widening. With AI continuing to grow and become commonplace, winners and losers will be determined by what level of access they have to AI technologies and how they leverage them. The future of work will be bifurcated by this emerging AI divide variable. Consider the following examples:

  • Companies that can put AI to use vs. those unable to leverage AI
  • Employees with access to AI tools and resources vs. those without
  • Countries investing in AI to address social and societal problems vs. those failing to invest in AI
  • Developers, engineers, and designers who quantify ethical values into AI-driven machines vs. those who do not
  • Companies with an established data supply chain to feed into AI systems vs. those which struggle with data overload
  • Companies reskilling workers and building the AI talent pipeline vs. those which do not
  • Companies focused on job enhancement and new job creation through AI vs. those focused on job losses due to AI
  • Education institutions preparing students to work alongside machines vs. those preparing students to work like machines
  • Countries that have both the digital (e.g., infrastructure) and analog (e.g., regulations) foundations for AI technologies vs. those which do not
  • Individuals that trust humans + machines vs. those who trust only humans
  • Education focused on personalized learning vs. education focused on one-to-many learning
  • Companies that focus on personalization of products and services in one-to-one connections vs. those which focus on one-to-many connections
  • Companies investing in building AI capabilities upfront vs. those which struggle with budgets
  • Individuals who are lifelong learners vs. those who learn on an as-needed basis
  • Leaders who accept the AI reality vs. leaders in denial about the impact of AI on their business and industry

The AI divide is emerging as AI becomes increasingly ubiquitous in our daily lives. Will this divide only continue to increase, or can laggards catch up with today's (and tomorrow’s) AI leaders? To use a consultant’s favorite phrase: It depends. It depends on how we bridge this divide in terms of infrastructure, skills, knowledge gaps, research capacities, and availability of data. The choices and decisions we make in the next few years will shape the fate of many individuals, educators, businesses and economies. Those on the wrong side of this new AI divide — those unable to leverage AI — will be at a significant disadvantage compared to those who can put it to use.

Which side of the AI divide are you on? Are you ready to welcome AI into your life or will you fall by the wayside?


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