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Why We Should Leave AI Development to the Market

This article first appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

Good morning from San Francisco. I’m not traveling this week. That’s a good thing.

Last week, from the Fortune Global Forum in Toronto, where Canadians are justifiably proud of their leadership position in artificial intelligence research, I brought you the epiphany that not every businessperson will need to become an AI expert. It will be no more necessary to master the mechanics of AI than it was in earlier eras to be able to design a spreadsheet program or to build a car in order to benefit from those breakthrough technologies.

That said, it absolutely behooves everyone in business and other productive endeavors to understand the ramifications of AI, as it really will change everything. My colleagues at Fortune are here to help with an informative and interesting package in the November issue of the magazine: “25 Ways A.I. Is Changing Business.” There’s something for everyone here: How AI will change work, finance, manufacturing, consumption, and more.

This is really exciting stuff, and the hype is nearly beside point. In his elegant introductory essay, Geoff Colvin points out that anyone making predictions about the precise impact of AI doesn’t really know what they’re talking about. Colvin also notes that even as we attempt to make intelligent guesses at how AI will be applied, the market will determine winning and losing uses of the whiz-bang technology. That’s as it should be.

For what it’s worth, The New York Times Sunday Review section had a good piece on why AI won’t solve the “fake news” problem any time soon.


A few other recommended reads: John Judis analyzes the U.S. political situation well here. I really enjoyed this interview with Hyatt Hotels CEO Mark Hoplamazian. Among other topics, he discusses the importance of empathy, which he also spoke about passionately at the first Fortune CEO Initiative annual meeting in 2017. Finally, Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International, formerly known as Weight Watchers, debuted at our Brainstorm Reinvent conference last month her company’s new name as it focuses more on wellness. The Economist has a good overview of the reinvention in its current issue.