An Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz-Inaccurate Attribution!
Summary of eRumor:
A commentary titled “An Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz” has made the rounds in forwarded emails and discussion forums.
The “Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz” commentary came from Dr. Robert Goldman, an anti-aging specialist and futurist — not the head of Mercedes-Benz.
The commentary first appeared at WorldHealth.net under the headline “Predictions in Technology and Health” in June 2016. The website is home to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), a non-profit that works toward “the advancement of technology to detect, prevent, and treat aging related disease.” Goldman is a cofounder and chairman of A4M.
Goldman makes predictions about advancements in software, artificial intelligence, autonomous cars, insurance companies, real estate and electric cars. He warns that rapid innovation will cause cultural changes in the near future. Additionally, Goldman dubs the phenomenon the “4th Industrial Revolution” and he welcomes readers to “the Exponential Age.”
Fast forward to early 2017, and the commentary resurfaced in forwarded emails and discussion forums. This time, however, it was attributed to the head of Daimler Benz (or Mercedes-Benz). Appearing under the headline, “Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz.”
It’s not clear how the head of Daimler Benz was listed as the author. It could have been a mistake. Or, it could have been done so intentionally to boost its credibility. Either way, the head of Daimler Benz is not behind these ideas.
An Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz: The Real Story
Dr. Dieter Zetsche is the head (or chairman of the board) of Daimler Benz. And Zetsche directly contradicted many of the ideas expressed in the “Interesting Talk” commentary during a shareholders meeting in May 2017.
Dr. Robert Goldman, for example, wrote that “most companies may become bankrupt” as tech companies like Tesla, Apple and Google take the revolutionary approach of building a computer on wheels. Zetsche, meanwhile, predicted that the future of the auto industry would be far more balanced:
At the moment, it appears that the future of the automotive industry will primarily be marked by opposites such as electric drive versus combustion engines, autonomous driving versus driving pleasure, vehicle ownership versus shared mobility and humans versus robots. We, however, do not view these things as contradictory. At Daimler, we are convinced that mobility will simply become even more multifaceted. It is necessary to do one thing without stopping with the other. That’s why we are strengthening both: the new and the old.
But, when it comes to ideas related to artificial intelligence, Zetsche and Goldman’s ideas are much more aligned. Goldman warned that IBM’s Watson technology would make human attorneys absolute. He also discussed the impact of automation on medicine and the economy. Zetsche, meanwhile, struck a similar tone:
The key to all of these future-oriented topics is the link between human and artificial intelligence. Today, the computer can already make medical diagnoses, formulate legal arguments — and bluff during poker games. The appropriate use of artificial intelligence could become an engine of growth for the economy, because it would boost productivity. Human beings could then concentrate on tasks that are beyond the abilities of artificial intelligence.
Given overlap in some of the ideas discussed, it’s possible that Goldman and Zetsche’s commentaries were mistakenly interchanged. Either way, Zetsche didn’t write the “Interesting Talk by the Head of Daimler Benz” commentary.