It has become clear that AI will affect us all and that there are three main areas to take action in artificial intelligence. Whether you believe, like Stephen Hawking, that it is likely to be humanity’s last invention, and the one that abolishes us, or that it will dominate the world, as Vladimir Putin has said, there is no question that things are changing, and we should all be trying to find out more.

I spoke to Andreas Gödde at SAS, responsible for presales in the DACH region.

AI and Our Everyday Lives

Andreas, why is everyone so worried about AI?

Whenever people are confronted with big changes, they are always going to be worried. Something known is being replaced by something unknown. The way it is being reported is also designed to scare. The term “artificial intelligence” already suggests that a property previously attributed to people — intelligence — can now also be provided by a machine. However, there are already a number of examples of where and how AI has invaded our everyday lives.

Could you give us some of these examples?

Worries around AIWell, there is one example that is fairly current: the new fares that Lufthansa wants to introduce in Germany for domestic flights. The company is claiming that these fare changes are not due to a changed pricing policy, but to the underlying algorithms that calculate the prices and distribute them automatically. Of course, these are very clever algorithms, but ultimately the company remains responsible. It is just more convenient for them to hide behind the algorithms.

Or we could talk about the challenges of getting credit for purchases. A few years ago, your local bank manager would have decided if you were creditworthy. Today, those same managers can only shrug their shoulders and explain that they do not have the power to decide on a loan, because it is decided by a computer at headquarters.

We could also cite the situation with payment options in e-commerce. If you live, say, in South Central, Los Angeles, you are much more likely to be required to prepay before delivery. In Beverly Hills, however, you will probably be able to get delivery on account. This is down to an algorithm working out what is safest for the company.

Related: 5 Questions to Answer Before Adopting Cobots

Struggle to Accept

Why do consumers have trouble accepting these cases?

In my opinion, there are usually three main reasons: The results or decisions are not fully explained, the conclusion is not transparent and comprehensible, and there is a sense of being ‘done’ in some way, because of an asymmetry between supplier and customer. These are not entirely new insights and all three points are already addressed in many ways today, at least in the banking area. The question is whether they are being addressed enough.

Please will you explain that in more detail?

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