16 May, 2017
The Lack Of Intelligence About Artificial Intelligence
Everyone’s talking about artificial intelligence (“AI”). Most of the talk is wrong, misleading and often intended to frighten us about a future that’s unlikely to occur. AI will not steal our babies, hold us hostage for Bitcoins or start nuclear wars. But it will fundamentally change the labor market through the intelligent automation of many routine tasks individuals and companies perform all the time.
First, let’s acknowledge the lack of intelligence around artificial intelligence. Members of the United States Congress know little or nothing about the technology – which is worrisome on many levels, especially when we consider the technology’s inevitable impact on the US and global economies. Most CEOs – and even most CIOs and CTOs – also know very little about AI – though when surveyed list AI as one of the most important technologies of the 21st century. The judicial system has its head in the sand. The general population understands AI the way Hollywood dramatizes it, like the way it was exhibited in 1992 in Minority Report and 1999 in The Matrix and, more recently, in Her and HBO’s Westworld. Try this: go to a party and randomly ask people what they think about AI. I’ve done it several times and the wordcloud shows robotics, Alexa, Watson and Westworld, but nothing about machine learning, knowledge representation or neural networks. Or about the impact it will inevitably have.