The influence of artificial intelligence (AI) on the modern working world was discussed at a packed CMS reception in Davos in January 2017.

Held in conjunction with leading German newspaper Die Zeit, the event saw Bill McDermott, CEO of the leading enterprise software maker SAP, and other experts discuss the creation of AI and its impact on society, workers and legal frameworks.

Bill McDermott commented, “There are benefits to AI, but I don’t think it replaces the human in most cases. I think it gives nuance to the experience and the decision-making process.” The CEO of SAP went on to say that in an environment where manual jobs in particular are becoming obsolete, we must retool and reskill those people. It is especially important to reskill and educate those who have been affected by the digital divide and do not see a positive future.

He added, “I can’t stress enough, we can’t leave people behind.” In order to achieve this, the private sector and the public sector providing the necessary infrastructure would have to work closely together, according to McDermott.

CMS Munich partner Markus Häuser commented that society does not yet know how to deal with thinking machines and the legal community is still in the early stages of discussion regarding AI.

He added, “We will need to develop a new legal framework that governs the creation of AI and the interaction between humans and robots. For example, the more intelligent robots become, the more they will be capable of building their own personality. So, will they need to be protected by having rights of their own?”

AI promises a number of benefits for businesses and society as a whole but we need to be fully aware of potential risks, and as a society we need to address essential issues such as ethics, privacy and, in general, the regulation of the interaction between man and machine.”
Cornelius Brandi, Executive Chairman of CMS

David Kenny, Senior Vice President of IBM Watson & IBM Cloud, Florian Leibert, CEO and Founder of Mesosphere, and Jürgen Schmidhuber, Scientific Director at the Swiss Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), also participated in the discussion.

More than 200 leading representatives from the worlds of business and politics attended the discussion and reception. This is the third consecutive year that CMS has hosted a high-profile, event in Davos at the same time as the World Economic Forum.

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