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Are the Smart Machines Taking Over?

At CES this year, all the talk was about smart machines: smart cars, smart glasses, and, of course, smartphones. But should we be scared of these smart machines? Are they about to become too smart—so smart, indeed, that they are calling the shots?

This was one of the most interesting audience questions at a keynote panel  I moderated featuring Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs and AT&T’s SVP of Network Operations John Donovan.

Interestingly enough, the panelists seemed less afraid of our networked future than the audience. To John Donovan, the high tech future is a great leveler, enabling everything, even the mathematically and linguistically impaired, to reach what he called a “new level of consciousness.”

Like Donovan, Jacobs welcomes the future which, he says, is “already here” in terms of enabling our digital brains. “The sky is the limit,” he said, for humans. Although he left the subject of singularity and self-conscious machines for another day.

Vestberg, too, remains an optimist about the future of networked technology. Indeed, rather than enslaving us, Vestberg sees this technology as essential in saving humanity and having a hugely beneficial impact on society.

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