ESSEC Knowledge Review: Artificial intelligence and the technological transformation

ESSEC Knowledge Review: Artificial intelligence and the technological transformation

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“By far, the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it.” - Eliezer Yudkowsky, founder of the Machine Learning Research Institute

The mention of artificial intelligence might conjure up images of robots, smart houses, or job automation. It might spark interest, excitement, or even trepidation. Whatever your reaction, it is unlikely to leave you indifferent: Artificial Intelligence systems touch virtually everyone, and the world of tomorrow promises to be exciting. Our world is evolving rapidly, and we have the opportunity – the responsibility – to be a part of the change. Digital technologies and Data Science are impacting how we interact, learn, and work. Modern problems require modern solutions, and these raise a lot of questions.

ESSEC’s motto is “Enlighten. Lead. Change”, and we believe that it is our responsibility to prepare future leaders for the challenges we face as a society – and also to see challenges as opportunities. While the world of tomorrow still holds many unknowns, we believe in the power of curiosity. This is why, with this special issue, we aim to share the knowledge of ESSEC professors and provide a better understanding of how artificial intelligence and the digital transformation will impact society.

This special issue of ESSEC Knowledge contributes to the new RISE strategy at ESSEC, which positions our school at the interface of science, management and societal change. One element of the RISE strategy is the creation of the Metalab for Data, Technology & Society, an interdisciplinary lab for scientific research and pedagogical innovation. With this, we invest in research studying the methodologies, uses and impacts of artificial intelligence, using an interdisciplinary, reflective and responsible approach.

Highlighting the wide-ranging influences of artificial intelligence systems, this special issue features articles from professors in analytics, decision sciences, econometrics, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, management, marketing, philosophy, and statistics. ESSEC professors have provided their expert analyses on topics ranging from the use of artificial intelligence in human resources and marketing, data ownership, the impact of AI on businesses and decision-making, and the ethical dilemmas and potential discriminations posed by AI-powered governance and decision support systems. We discuss how AI and new technologies may impact the world of work, from HR, analytics, and marketing, to information governance, to how research is conducted, to their uses in sustainability initiatives. We also cover how it could impact our daily lives, discussing how it could be used in credit decisions, the interplay between AI and gender, and other societal implications, including the issue of misinformation spreading on social networks. Together, these provide a peek into what tomorrow could look like as we unleash the power of technology and algorithms - and also learn how to use this power for good.

The articles included in this special issue provide insight into our world’s scientific transformation, stimulating discussions and debates so that we imagine what the next chapter of humanity could look like. In the words of the late Okwui Enwezor, who recently curated the Venice Biennale All the World’s Futures, we ask “how can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated? [...] How can [we] make sense of the current upheaval?”

Julia Smith, Editor-in-Chief of ESSEC Knowledge

Professors Guillaume Chevillon and Julien Malaurent, Academic Co-Directors of the Metalab for Data, Technology & Society

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