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AI + BI + CI x DI = Empowering, enriching and impacting society and environmental wellbeing


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With the emergence of AI, machines, computers, robots will take over a number of tasks and responsibilities that have been carried out by humans and in the new age of this digital transformation, a number of professions will get redefined in the future

There has never been a time like today where many are raising concerns for society’s wellbeing, survival and thriving, despite many progressive advancements in the digitally transformed world. 

We are already in the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution era, where we see profound systemic change in all frontiers that concern human society. Here we constantly face society being challenged by megatrends through the development in technology such as Autonomous Vehicles, 3D printing, Advanced Robotics, etc. The emergence of a whole new world order with the narrowing down of the digital divide with role played by smart phone, computers and robots using Artificial Intelligence in our society’s day-to-day life, public domain and in the business world.

I am not an expert on emerging global technology advancement or in the emergence of digital transformation. A typical commercial banker transformed in to hardcore social entrepreneur and impact investor with the courage of my conviction, I have somewhat great interest to fathom the positive and negative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on society. 

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The ‘Intelligence’ simply is all about the capacity to learn and solve problems. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) goes beyond this simple definition, and it is showcased as the intelligence by machines with the ability to solve problems and with the ability to rationalise and basically with the ability to act like humans. Artificial Intelligence (AI), also called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in comparison to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. 

This indeed is a dynamic dimension that can trigger multiple positive and negative impact for planet, people, profit and the progress of the human society. On the positive side of Artificial Intelligence impact and the benefits are very significant and revolutionary.  

Some of the key deliverables of Artificial Intelligence include initiatives like ability to analyse satellite images to identify which areas have the higher poverty levels in countries, creating robots that can teach subjects to the students in schools and in universities solving a variety of problems of patients in hospitals and healthcare industry, robots running diverse mega industries with least supervision, replacing human labour to do the repetitive laborious tasks, market analysis and data mining, accounts, finance and portfolio management, etc., the list can go on onto many areas where human engagement is needed.

The negative side of Artificial Intelligence is mainly significant on the society through the redundancy of numerous professions and jobs hitherto carried out by humans. With the emergence of AI, machines, computers, robots will take over a number of tasks and responsibilities that have been carried out by humans and in the new age of this digital transformation, a number of professions will get redefined in the future. 

Most of the back office work will be taken over by machines, computers and robots; in addition many factory workers will lose jobs, many finance and accounting, auditing and portfolio management jobs will be lost too. With the innovations taking place in the field of microbiology and nanotechnology the ‘Medical Nanobots’ will take over the jobs of the doctors, physicians and surgeons. Even some of the hospital functions will be carried out by ‘Medical Nano Laboratories’ run by machines and robots only. 

Once in full swing, with the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machines, computers and robots will replace and make redundant a vast number of people across countries and in economies from the minor labourer to the highest level of most qualified professionals. This digital and technology transformation will indeed create major issues to the countries, societies and economies. 

To face the challenge of large number unemployment in all categories and the need will arise to find solutions of redeploying the people in to new income generating activities. Impact would be more visible in developed countries, will spare, however less developed countries and will have little breathing space, but it’s a matter of time as they too will have be ready for this change eventuality.

 

Basic Income (BI)

The concept and the idea of Basic Income (BI) for every person is very old; it was in the 16th century, Sir Thomas More came up with guaranteed minimum income for every person from the state welfare system in United Kingdom. Many countries in the world, the developed and developing, have different types of social benefits programs and initiatives driven by their respective governments to support the poor and unemployed people. 

The modern concept of Basic Income (BI) which is known as Universal Basic Income (UBI) and Basic Income Guarantee (BIG). The concept of Basic Income (BI) is the approach of the governments, the economies, the societies and the corporate business entities working on a model that would provide all citizens, members and employees with a given sum of money irrespective of their resources and employment status. The proposition of the Basic Income (BI) is to prevent and reduce the poverty and to reduce the inequality among the citizens, members and employees.

There are a number of positive and negative factors on implementing a concept like Basic Income (BI) with the idea everyone in the country, society or in the business entity getting an unconditional income of money that they can use any way they wanted looks very irrational and unfair. But with the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution led by the digital and technology transformation with the Artificial intelligence (AI) in the driving seat, the concept and the model of Basic Income (BI) is being discussed as a possible solution that addresses the significant job losses across many employee segments. 

Many of the countries in the world are now carrying out multiple pilots on Basic Income (BI) and how they can adopt as key strategy. There would be many challenges and pros and cons in implementing the concept of Basic Income in some of the countries, societies and economies. However the concept and the model of Basic Income would ideally suit to overcome many setbacks insignificant increase of unemployment triggered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The model of Basic Income (BI) could be tailor-made depending on the key sectors where large employment losses and marginalisation key professions that would take place. I strongly feel any country, society or a business entity adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) should embrace the model of Basic Income (BI) and tailor-make it to get the best advantage as a win-win solution from the point of the respective country’s society and the business entity’s progressive development agenda.

This probably is the right time for the Sri Lankan public and private sector to look at very seriously in this emerging concept and the model of the Basic Income (BI). Particularly in the light of impact of the technological advancement and digital transformation in the Sri Lankan public and private sector and the challenges that will arise and how best the adaptation of the concept and model like Basic Income (BI) suit the Sri Lanka requirement. There is no question, some of the public and private sector entities have to move away from traditional Personnel Management and Human Resource Management ideas and practices to more progressive approaches in employee right positioning strategy and employee enrichment strategy for better performance. The concept and model like Basic Income (BI) ideally fits when adopted to suit to Sri Lankan requirement in facing the challenges in journey towards the Artificial Intelligence.

 

Continuous Improvement (CI) 

I had the great privilege and the opportunity of spending one whole day at the Toyota main factory in Toyota City, Nagoya, Japan in the year 2006, during an official visit to Japan. It was indeed an unforgettable and awesome experience and was the very first opportunity I have seen the world renowned Japanese concept KAIZEN better known also as Continuous Improvement (CI) in practice. 

The Japanese word KAIZEN gives the meaning ‘good change’ or ‘improvement’. In the factory floor and the walls of Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Nagoya, the word KAIZEN is very prominently displayed. In the Toyota factory KAIZEN is like a religion that is practiced by every employee of Toyota. 

I was informed that annually over 60,000 new innovative ideas for improvement are received by the top management. Over 60% of these new innovative ideas for improvement come from the blue collar factory workers and most of the time these ideas for improvement are put in to production process for the improvement of the production of new Toyota vehicles.

The concept and the practice of Continuous Improvement (CI) is all about creating continuous improvement based on the innovative ideas that small and ongoing changes can reap significant improvement. The concept of Continuous Improvement (CI) can be adopted to any industry and business process in the manufacturing or service delivery. What is most noteworthy is the ability to use in the personal life in the skills and personal performance improvement.

To face the challenge of the negative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), when alarming job losses across many professions take place in a country, society and business entity, adopting the concept and the practicing model of Continuous Improvement (CI) ideally suits. When certain jobs or professions get redundant and lost due to Artificial Intelligence (AI), redefining respective jobs and professions and putting the employee or employees into a process of Continuous Improvement (CI) of the skills, knowledge, capacity and the ability will transform the redundant employee or employees to more ‘Productive Assets’ of the country, the society and the business entity. 

 

Divine Intelligence (DI) 

I have seen many of the corporate leaders in the world and in the recent past in our own country speaking with great enthusiasm on the positive impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) once in place in the country, the society and their respective business entities. They would also have the privilege of using driverless cars instead of using their chauffer driven luxury cars. 

One of the key issues I have particularly with Sri Lankan corporate leaders is that they have not much looked at the negative impact of the social issues that will arise out of vast job losses that will take place in the adaptation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

The concept of ‘Divine Intelligence’ (DI) is most probably a bit alien to most people in the world as well most of the Sri Lankans. However, this is a concept that is practiced by Jewish people in Nation of Israel for over 3,000 years. It arises from the practice that is recommended in five books called Torah written by Moses for Jewish people for their use. One of the key practices from the Torah is to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. 

The Torah also defines love in three areas, ‘Eros’ the love between man and woman, ‘Philia’ the brotherly love, the most important is ‘Agape’, which is the ‘sacrificial love’. Most of us are very much into the practice of Eros and Phila which indeed work in mutually benefited framework and most often Eros and Philia kind of love is considered very selfish in the approach, the practice and the impact. The Divine Intelligence (DI) is directly connected to Agape which is ‘sacrificial love’ is to demonstrate the practice of ‘Love your Neighbour as Yourself’. 

When looking at some of the problems faced in the world and in our own country most probably the time has come to graduate from Philia ‘brotherly kind of love’ to Agape which is the ‘sacrificial love’. Two of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have shown to all of us that this is possible. Warren Buffet has only kept 5% of his wealth for him and his children and has donated the rest of the vast wealth to Gates foundation for the programs that will benefit the society and the environment sustainability globally. 

Same is true about Bill Gates and Melinda Gates who have not only given the most of their wealth to the wellbeing of millions but also committed their time and energy to work fulltime for Gates foundation for the programs that impact millions out of poverty and healthcare of millions across the world. This I would say is ‘Sacrificial Love’; they have not only sacrificed their wealth but also their personal engagement, even involved in travelling to remote parts of Africa and Asia. I cannot find a better example than this. 

Some time ago I wrote in the Daily FT an article on the ‘Science of Wealth Creation and the Art of Wealth distribution’. People like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have mastered the ‘Science of Wealth Creation’ and equally mastered the ‘Art of Wealth Distribution’. Unfortunately this kind of conviction is not among Asian corporate leaders and it is worse among Sri Lankan corporate leaders. 

Most of the corporate leaders forget, though they are constantly in their respective businesses deals in millions, billions and even in trillions rupees of dollars, that the Creator deals with all of us in tens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties in our lifespan in years. When we reach seventies, eighties and nineties, we cannot reconcile the values in millions, billions and even trillions to tens, twenties, etc., and vast amount of wealth in the very old age become meaningless. 

It is time the Sri Lankan corporate leaders recognised this reality and begin to become agents of ‘Social Transformation’ through wealth creation skill to graduate into wealth distribution mode by following the lead showcased by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

While I appreciate tremendous success achieved by the Sri Lankan corporate leaders and great performance of their business entities, showcasing unprecedented profits they make which indeed is vital for the economy, I greatly find fault with most of them for the lack of their conviction and commitment to empower, enrich and impact the society and the environment in Sri Lanka. I am not talking about Corporate Social Responsibility or Philanthropy, but key engagement that goes beyond and how the Sri Lankan business leaders take responsibility in their individual capacity as well as by leading their business entities in the social transformation. 

Klaus Schwab the founder of World Economic Forum, constantly articulates year by year at the World Economic Forum, the responsibility of global corporate and business and political leaders on the need for impactful social transformation. He advocates the need of businesses to move towards, responsible and inclusive businesses that can impact the social enrichment and reduce the economic inequality. 

One of the strong commitments of Klaus Schwab and his wife Hilde Schwab, is to create a thriving social entrepreneur ecosystem and impact investing landscape across the world and they are investing so much of their resources and energy towards this agenda, and they both have showcased the attributes of Divine Intelligence (DI) through all of these initiatives.

It’s time for Sri Lankan corporate leaders and business drivers of all shapes and sizes understand these key developments that are taking place globally and to work on creating a sustainable and impactful social transformation to enrich the society when looking at embarking into adaptation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives in their respective business entities.

The Divine Intelligence (DI), surpasses, human intelligence and much more advanced than the Artificial Intelligence (AI), because the bottom line of Divine Intelligence (DI) is commitment to Empowering, Enriching and Impacting the Society, ‘Love your Neighbour as Yourself’, the Agape which is the Sacrificial Love in action. 

We have no option but to adopt the innovation in technology and the digital transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay and move fast and to get the best advantage of Artificial intelligence (AI) is to adopt the formula below:

AI+BI+CI x DI = Empowering, Enriching and Impacting Society and Environmental Wellbeing.

 

(The writer is the Founder and Chairman of Lanka Impact Investing Network Ltd. (LIIN), the first Sri Lankan Impact Investing fund. He is also the co-founder of Ath Pavura TV reality show Sri Lanka’s most successful TV reality show for social entrepreneurs and impact investors. Chandula is one of the most respected senior bankers in the country, with lead expertise on development and retail banking. He serves in boards of the number of international and Sri Lankan financial institutions.)


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