A.I. leader says tech will reveal problems or could 'go off the rails,' humans must still 'ride herd' over it

A.I. will help meet the high-demand for reliability across various industries but won't provide solutions to problems

The rapid rise of artificial intelligence has stoked angst among the public who fear that such complex machines will render their jobs obsolete. 

While A.I. will undoubtedly create some upheavals in the years to come, a business leader who led development of his company's artificial intelligence solution and spoke to FOX Business thinks we are overestimating the damage A.I. will do. 

FILE: Male programmer using laptop analyzing and developing in various information on futuristic virtual interface screen.  (iStock / iStock)

Former Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton is the founder and CEO of Pinnacle Reliability, a company that uses data including A.I. to help complex process facilities like oil refineries, mining operations, and lumber mills to make more strategic decisions. 

Since the company's founding in 2006, Sitton has watched and led dramatic advances in technology, as well as shifts in the global supply chain. Pinnacle has spent the past several years building its own A.I., called Newton, to grapple with big data across diverse and complex systems.


"There's less margin for error, in general, in the way the world operates," Sitton said, concerning the state of complex industries today. "Today, we've got real-time information about how things are moving. And as a result, the demand for things to operate predictably or reliably is even higher." 

Sitton believes that A.I. including Newton will play a major role in analyzing these incredibly complex systems – but humans will not be entirely left out of the equation. 

Vehicles pass the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery Wilmington Plant on November 28, 2022 in Wilmington, California.

FILE: Vehicles pass the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery Wilmington Plant on November 28, 2022, in Wilmington, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images / Getty Images)

A.I., he argued, could "easily go off the rails" without human oversight, without someone present to make judgment calls or "ride herd over a bunch of calculation engines running." 

"Some people out there think, ‘Humans are too error-prone; we’ll just replace them with machines,'" he said. "Well, artificial intelligence can be incredibly error-prone as well, given anomalous data or given skewed readings. So, the real future in complex systems is a marriage of both." 

In essence, A.I. will be a tool among many in the arsenal, Sitton argues. A.I. will be able to analyze complex data systems and identify where the problems are, but it won't necessarily be able to figure out what to do to address those concerns. 


"That's when the human comes in. The computer has identified the problem, now I need creative solutions," Sitton said. "So, I need the analytics on this side, and I need human creativity and empathy to work together as an effective team to get the most powerful combined output."