The opportunities and threats posed by machine learning were debated during a lecture by serial entrepreneur Hermann Hauser at Alliance MBS.
Dr Hauser, co-founder of a string of high-tech companies including Acorn Computers and of venture capital firm Amadeus Capital Partners, said machine learning was a rare horizontal technology that could be applied right across society. “It can be applied to most, if not all, sectors. It changes everything and creates new business models.”
He cited the example of the automotive industry where machine learning is the key to autonomous driving. “Here is an industry which is being impacted by two spectacular disruptions. One is the electric motor, and the other is autonomous driving.”
Dr Hauser said we had in recent times seen huge advances in the use of machine learning – defined as systems that learn data rather than follow pre-programmed rules – such as through clever speech and face recognition.
Looking ahead he stressed that at the heart of machine learning was probability. “If you want to describe the real world it is much better to associate probability to all things you observe. It gives you a more powerful way of predicting what happens next.”
However he conceded there were major societal and ethical challenges ahead. For instance he said there was a potential threat to more than half of jobs from machine learning, while another major challenge was that machine learning needed human goals.
Steve Furber, ICL Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester, said deep learning will bring many changes but we were only just at the beginning of the journey. “Deep learning has only just begun, these are the first steps. What we have heard about tonight are lots of very exciting niche applications which have solved some interesting problems. But there has been no progress towards understanding the nature of human intelligence or towards being able to emulate it in our machines.”
Welcoming Dr Hauser to Alliance MBS, Professor Jakob Edler, Executive Director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, said this was a topic on everyone’s minds. “Whatever we do every day seems to now be helped by algorithms. Sometimes it seems that search engines know better what we want than we do ourselves. It is fascinating, but worrying too. I’m not sure if I want machines to learn so much about me. There is a balance to be struck.”
Friday, May 26, 2017
Did you know starting a business is one of the main reasons for studying an MBA? Our Full-time MBA candidates have lots of opportunities to develop their entrepreneurship skills.
Friday, May 19, 2017
Although awareness of mental health issues has greatly increased in recent years, far more still needs to be done to tackle it in the workplace.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Low-cost oil producers will start to question why there are rationing supplies and this will have “huge implications” for the oil market, said Spencer Dale, Group Chief Economist at BP. Addressing the annual BP lecture at Alliance MBS, Dale – a former chief economist at the Bank of England – said in no other industry could you have a country such as Saudi Arabia, where it costs just $10 to produce a barrel of oil, operating in the same market as a country like Canada where it costs $30 to $40.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
Despite the ‘compelling” business case for having more women on company boards the move towards gender equality in the boardroom has stalled. Our Vital Topics panel debate on ‘Diversity at the top’ heard that there remained a complex and often contradictory array of reasons as to why more women did not hold senior management positions. For instance there are still only seven female CEOs in the FTSE 100 today.
Monday, May 1, 2017
The Financial Times’ new ranking of Top MBAs for Finance sees Alliance Manchester Business School ranked 29th in the world and positioned as 5th in the UK and 10th in Europe.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
One of the world’s leading university ranking groups, QS (Quacquarelli Symonds), has today ranked Alliance Manchester Business School’s Global MBA as 5th in the world.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Charities, businesses and community groups across the world will be able to streamline and improve their response to emergencies and disasters, thanks to a new International Standard initiated at Alliance Manchester Business School.
She’s got the power – ethical energy boss scoops outstanding entrepreneur award this International Women’s Day
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Innovative energy boss and MBA Class of 2016 Class President Cheryl Latham has scooped the ‘Outstanding Entrepreneur’ gong at this year’s Northern Power Women awards.