Meet Sophia, who has Saudi-Arabian nationality. There’s nothing unusual about that, except that Sophia is actually a robot.
She was granted her nationality very recently, the first robot to ever receive such a distinction.
Whether other countries will follow suit or whether other robots will obtain Saudi-Arabian nationality remains to be seen, but the writing is on the wall.
Robots and other forms of artificial intelligence are poised for not just insertion into, but integration with society and business. Given the propensity of machines to continue to work indefinitely without tea-breaks or any other interruptions, the face of business continuity could be changed forever too.
So far, business continuity has been largely about humans monitoring and mending machines. It has also been about humans interacting with humans, as soon as the interaction became more complex than what a cash dispenser or ecommerce website could handle.
Both items are now ripe for change. Self-healing software has been available for some time, and self-healing or automaton-healing machines are realistically possible too. Person-to-machine interactions have been shown to achieve the level of person-to-person.
There are good examples, such as IBM’s Watson, and less desirable ones such as Microsoft’s Tay. Both learnt their behaviour as they went, but not always from suitable sources. Consequently, Watson is still going from strength to strength, whereas Tay was retired from service (shades of Blade Runner, right?).
The Turing Test was first successfully passed when a human sat in front of keyboard and a screen, and was unable to distinguish the responses coming back a machine from those that might have been given by another human being.
A quick look at Sophia shows how far robotics and AI have developed since. Lights-out, self-healing, customer-satisfying facilities, at least online, are possible with impeccable business continuity. Costs are still a factor, at least on a short-term basis, but they will continue to decrease. In the future, robots will ensure business continuity at all levels.
And humans? We’ll still be needed for creativity, innovation, imagination, and judgment – and for throwing spanners in the works to make sure our AI companions are still doing their jobs properly.