Referencing “Why does deep and cheap learning work so well?” Marcus observed that “a lot of smart people are convinced that deep learning is almost magical—I’m not one of them.” Deep learning, he explained, lacks ways of representing causal relationships; it has no obvious ways of performing logical inferences; and it is a long way from integrating abstract knowledge. “All of this is still true despite of all the hype and billions of dollars invested. A better ladder does not necessarily get you to the moon,” said Marcus.

AI is Augmented Intelligence—“using the strengths of both humans and machines”

Tom Davenport, who devoted his presentation (and his recent book) to advising humans on how to race with the machines rather than against them, had also an important suggestion for organizations: Establish a new position, that of the Chief Augmentation Officer. That executive should be in charge of picking the right AI technology for a specific task, the design of work processes where humans and machines work together and complement each other, and providing employees with the right options and the time to transition to them.