Google’s Newest AI Could Replace Meetings, Maybe Jobs

The current chatter about the looming impact of artificial intelligence on humankind took a fresh turn recently with the introduction of a new AI system from Google. The tech company calls the program Meet Duet and it is billed as a tool for note-taking and summarizing meetings. The technology can even fill in for employees who are late to the meeting or are unable to attend.

Google Meet Duet could provide an invaluable tool for overbooked executives and may streamline meetings to improve productivity. It could also be a precursor to a world in which corporate meetings are absent human input. This level of interaction calls into question the job security of potentially hundreds of thousands of high-dollar earners in nearly every facet of the economy.

The possibility of robots taking corporate jobs is likely well beyond the horizon today, but rapid advances and huge amounts of investment in AI technology are speeding along the development of new systems. Everything from the cars that we drive to the warplanes that our government uses to defend the nation’s interests are seeing an increase in the use of AI. Some uses are beneficial while others may result in significant harm to society.

Author and comedian Stephen Kruiser wrote on August 29 that he could envision a scenario in which AI does a better job in meetings than a human without being paid a salary. Kruiser adds that replacing employees with better-performing and affordable AI is “the logical next step.” A recent study by OpenAI indicates that 80% of jobs could be impacted by AI in the next several years.

Regulations on the use of AI are looming, but the rapid changes in the technology have made it a challenge to determine exactly what the software is, let alone how best to restrict its use. Programs such as Fivecast’s ONYX program in use by the Department of Homeland Security have the potential to be used nefariously for tracking political opponents through social media, yet there is no comprehensive U.S. law on the books.

For now, Google’s AI program is focused on increasing productivity, not taking jobs. Nor is the technology being pushed as a way to replace human input. It still requires that a user set certain parameters to function. But, just as it was once inconceivable that people would carry a computer in their pocket, the likelihood that AI could replace mundane employment tasks and even replace certain jobs should lead to cautionary uses.