Prior to the era of Artificial Intelligence, humans would collaborate on decisions. As the saying goes, "two brains are better than one." But with advancements in AI, screening data and ideas has been made easier and more efficient. Its impact on the economy and its implications regarding the future of the workforce has ignited a fierce debate that has been contributed to by everyone from Silicon Valley to the White House.

Of course there are naysayers, like Nick Bostrom, who warns that AI could quickly turn dark and dispose of humans altogether, saying, "The subsequent world would harbor economic miracles and technological awesomeness, with nobody there to benefit."

But the outlook is positive. A recent artificial intelligence report from experts at Stanford University concluded that "increasingly useful applications of AI, with potentially profound positive impacts on our society and economy are likely to emerge between now and 2030."

Perhaps most well-known for a positive outlook on AI is distinguished scientist and co-director at Microsoft Research, Eric Horvitz, who believes strongly in the human side of advanced machine learning, and has said he believes humans must be at the center of the workforce to design products and services that understand nuances, emotions and quirky behaviors. "We are in a resurgence of optimism and hope as it relates to solving some of the core problems in Artificial Intelligence and there is much to look forward to."

These are three ways the economy is already bracing for AI disruption:

AI is Changing the Face of Labor One thing seems to be agreed upon by most economists: with the rise of AI, certain jobs will be replaced by automation software or robots. But, Will Lee, who studied AI at Stanford, the wealth gap will increase even faster than the loss of employment.

"As technology advancements are evolving rapidly, so too must humans," says Lee, the founder of Verlocal, an online platform where people can monetize their passions. "We must become savvy in selling our creative skills. Traditional skills are too easily automated, monetizing creativity is the future of our workforce."

Lee has pioneered the theory of an "Open-Resource Economy", a concept that empowers individuals to monetize their creativity and available resources to add value to society and their communities. The idea draws on how humans understand and assign value. For example, we universally value handmade items more than manufactured ones. Art done by hand is more valuable than digital art. These are ways humans will be able to create value long after AI has changed the economy.

AI is Leveling the Playing Field Thanks to the Internet, corporations have the advantage of large budgets and enormous volumes of data that the average business could never hope to acquire.

Experts like Sam Altman are developing open-source versions of AI that will be available to all, rather than few, in a fight against wealth inequality. In the beginning of the year, Altman tweeted that his accelerator, Y Combinator, is particularly interested in funding AI startups that lower the cost of education, housing and healthcare as a way to help address wealth inequality by making it as cheap as possible to have access to life's essentials.

Making AI open source could help to insure that the next great disruption to the economy does not wind up lining the pockets of the already-rich.

AI is Strengthening Human Business Connections

With AI's ability to analyze data, predict trends, and lessen the human requirement for repetitious tasks, there is less demand than ever before for people to network in person or even virtually communicate with each other. AI programs are highly accomplished at communicating on our behalf. Except that we still feel the need to do so.

Kevin Jackson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for global brand experience agency George P. Johnson, explains, "Despite everyone's belief in the power of social media, the biggest spike in voter engagement was when they met a candidate or went to a meeting. We don't work for a company, we work for a person - that person needs to be front and centre, and in the flesh - we need to see and be seen."

Human relationships are invaluable no matter what industry you find yourself in, but the compounding influence of decades of technology, arguably beginning with the telegram, have made it less and less necessary to do so. The emergence of AI in our economy may finally be the nudge we need to step away from our computers and start shaking hands again.

The Future

The fundamental solution to this problem is to educate more individuals and help them realize their business potentials while convincing both individuals and corporations alike to put an effort toward building an innovative, sustainable market to prepare for upcoming changes.