If you can break a job into roles and tasks you can automate it, and now CEO’s are coming into the firing line…


There’s a saying – if you can describe your job in one sentence then get prepared for it to be automated. Automation has changed society as we know it, and knew it, for centuries now, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) itself, a driving force for automation, is now increasingly being seen as a double edged sword. On the one hand it’s helping us save lives, but on the other it’s helping to automate hundreds of thousands of jobs – and entire companies like Aidyia, a fully autonomous hedge fund.


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As a consequence, and with a cacophony of voices, that include the likes of Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and now Alibaba’s Jack Ma, continually telling us to “prepare for more pain than happiness” it’s not too hard for many of us to begin thinking the worst. Ma himself, for example, has spoken at several conferences on the topic, and he believes that “social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life,” something that mirrors the European Union’s sentiments “that AI and automation will leave no strata of society untouched.”


Jack Ma, CEO Alibaba, talking at Davos 2017

In Ma’s case, as you can see in the video above, he feels that many of these social conflicts will arise from the rise of automation and now he’s saying that in 30 years’ time he thinks that the “Time Magazine cover for the best CEO of the year will very likely be a robot. It remembers better than you, it counts faster than you, and it won’t be angry with competitors.”


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Aren’t CEO’s already robots? Anyway, and if you’re thinking of a cover that has an actual robot on it then you might be disappointed – in the future it’s more than likely, as we’re already seeing today with companies like Aiydia above, and Bridgewater Associates who are busy at the moment automating their entire management team, that the CEO “robot” running the company will be AI software… and there you all were thinking of a Terminator robot sitting behind a desk, silly you, that’s this years’ photo.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

  • Dinoy Chakraborty#1

    18th September 2017

    This is exactly what is going to happen. Every person in this world is going to be replaced by AI. Ever watched iRobot? it makes sense. Never the less Judgement day :). it will be back. I feel AI has to be limited to certain professions where Human involvement is not needed at all. Like run Supermarkets.

  • William (Bill) Kemp#2

    18th September 2017

    Think of the cost saving for salaries for CEO’s!

  • Brad Gruber#3

    16th July 2018

    While I can agree with the general premise, there is a human factor that I believe will never be fully replaced by a machine. Unique experiences, emotion, context, tone, intuition can present situations and solve problems uniquely to being human. Sorry to disappoint the robots. Or do they even get disappointed?

  • David D’Souza#4

    17th July 2018

    I believe that humans will continue to excel at subjective goals that are in a grey area of difficult to resolve. So an AI will want to collaborate with a human. And that will aid in the decision making process for the AI CEO

  • Mindey I.#5

    17th July 2018

    > Could you one day be working for an AI?
    It depends on how well the goals of such an AI-managed company are aligned with the goals of persons working for it, and the society at large. I would prefer – for the sake of creating a friendly AI – to develop such a systems in open-source fashion, with embedded goals that are acceptable and desirable by all, rather than custom arbitrary goals.


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