AI: to fear or embrace?

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It is the early 1800s and the first steam locomotive has been put to use. Worry is in the air as this steamy specimen is about to destroy jobs. Traditional methods of transportation are horse and cart, but with the introduction of the train comes the risk of obsoletion for the horse. Whilst the rise of the train results in the decline of the horse and cart, it also creates new opportunities for work in other areas. The death of one era gives birth to the next. But change is unfamiliar and uncertain, invoking feelings of fear – whether real or imagined. 

Artificial Intelligence: devastating or transformative?

The repetition of history can be seen today with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). The automation of previously manual tasks produces the fear of AI overtaking jobs. This is one of the most common misconceptions in regards to AI. The application of AI results in the removal of some jobs whilst creating new job opportunities also. The rise of AI is not to replace human thinking in the workplace, but to supercharge human thinking in the workplace. By automating long, tedious and repetitive tasks, time is freed up to focus on more important tasks. This reduces labour costs and enables the prioritisation of responsibilities. 

This is a key benefit of AI, demonstrated by Altada through the use of our Document Intelligence (Doc Intel) solution. Our Doc Intel can investigate and dissect a lengthy document 20 times faster than having it done manually. Take the example of a mortgage loan document in Banking – manually this could take around 42 days to process, but our Doc Intel solution can reduce this to 48 hours. In addition to the increased speed, we output data with much higher levels of accuracy. By harvesting more information, 90% of the loan value is known compared to 50% when done manually. 

AI for good

As a very powerful tool, AI has the ability to implement change for good. AI itself is morally neutral – neither good nor bad. It is the way in which the AI is used that alters this state of neutrality. Of course there are potential negative implications that come with the use of AI – such as privacy issues and the presence of biased data (you can read more about this here).  But once used responsibly, the positive possibilities for AI are immense. 

AI in healthcare

Zonitas, an AI start-up company, has a digital critical care communication platform. AI is harnessed to enable the transfer of vital patient history information – improving clinical outcomes and saving lives. This is a clear example of how AI can supercharge human decision-making rather than replacing it. Their AI solution rapidly delivers useful information to the current healthcare professionals working with the patient, to aid them in deciding their response to the medical situation. 

A further example of the use of AI in healthcare can be seen in precision medicine and personalisation of healthcare. The one-treatment-fits-all approach of traditional medicine doesn’t account for each individual patient’s uniqueness .  The way in which our body reacts to certain molecules is dependent upon our genome (our biological foundations) so it makes sense that we react to medication differently. Thus, in order to make prescriptions more effective, it would be beneficial to identify our genotype in order to predict our reaction to the medication. This would enable professionals to determine the best drug for treatment along with the best dose. AI can be used in the identification of an individual’s genotype, along with the sharing of this data to medical professionals. The data can then be used to diagnose their patient and proceed with the best personalised treatment. 

AI in Travel and Security

An additional application of AI for good can be seen in the travel and security sector. Our Computer Vision technology uses facial recognition to identify wanted suspects in areas of (but not limited to) human trafficking and terrorism. Along with facial recognition, our video analytics technology can aid in identifying persons of interests, within a crowd. In our previous blog we wrote about how Altada’s Computer Vision capabilities can transform sectors like travel and security, through increasing efficiency and improving health and safety regulations. You can read more about this in our recent blog here.


With vast change comes vast uncertainty. It is good to question, it is good to challenge. There are legitimate concerns with the rise of AI around data and privacy. These must be addressed by establishing privacy by design, along with the conscious decision to be ethical. Yet we must realise that anxiety does not always have solid roots embedded in truth. As long as we ask ‘why?’ and ensure our answers are aligned with ethics and the good of the future, then AI can truly be harnessed for good. 

Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for more blog insights! 

This blog was inspired by an article written by Graham Baitson, Head of Emerging Technology at Altada, and can be viewed here.

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