Upload Your Brain To A Better Substrate … Or Just Join Us For Breakfast To Talk About AI!

Are you thinking about how AI will impact procurement? Well, perhaps you should be. (And we had a positive view in this morning's article of course). But first …

On this Halloween afternoon… imagine being strapped to an operating theatre table, while a robotic surgeon opens up your skull, inserts tiny electrodes (or maybe microscopic robotic “bugs”) that read all the signals and scan the chemical structure of your brain. All that data is then uploaded into a mega-computer, and when the process is finished… well, you don’t need that mortal pile of flesh and bone any more, do you? You’re immortal now, running your “software” on a much more stable and predictable platform (or “substrate”, as the trans-humanists call it…)

That was the vision painted by Mark O’Connell at the recent Basware conference. I’m half way through his excellent and somewhat terrifying book, To Be a Machine, and we’ll bring you a full review when I’ve finished. But as well as the real science fiction stuff, he is good on artificial intelligence (AI), interviewing real experts in the field.

Some are big proponents of how amazing AI will be, analysing and making decisions far better and faster than we as mere humans ever will. Others think there are real existential dangers for humanity. If we don’t work out how to programme AI, how to control it, there could be unintended and terrible consequences. Give AI the goal of “saving the planet” and it might decide that wiping out humanity was the best way of achieving that, for instance!

Anyway, while we don’t see the implications for procurement being quite as dramatic, we have little doubt that AI is going to greatly affect pretty much every aspect of what we do in the profession. From risk management to sourcing, from capturing innovation from the supply market to P2P, it will have a major impact, and probably sooner than most expect.

If you have any interest in this, and we do think senior procurement people should do, why don’t you join me and Costas Xyloyiannis, computer scientist and founder of HICX Solutions, for breakfast and a workshop titled simply but accurately “AI and Procurement”. It is on November 14th, 8.30 for 9am start, finish by 11am, and the venue is Searcys at the top of the Gherkin in London – great views across the City as well as a stimulating discussion about AI.

We’ll give you our thoughts on where it is going and what you might need to be doing about it, then open the session up for some stimulating discussion too. Do register here – free of charge, but places are limited so don’t delay.

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