AI– Boom or Bust– Time To Get Real About Artificial Intelligence (AI): Cutting Through the Hype, Hope, Confusion of AI…

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is hot, and every company worth its stock price is talking about how this magical potion will change everything, much like– ‘the cloud’, ‘big data’, ‘machine learning’… But the term ‘artificial intelligence’ has been hijacked by marketers and media so that its unrecognizable… So, What is AI, really? When asking experts to define the term the only answer they all seem to agree on is that AI is technology that tries to imitate/augment human intelligence…

According to Mitch De Felice; there are many discussions in the blogosphere predicting the doom and gloom of the inevitable rise of artificial intelligence (AI). There are theories on everything from how it will result in massive layoffs to the ultimate downfall of humanity itself… Some prominent names, such as; Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, to name a few… have put forth ominous warnings of dangers that AI could have on mankind…

Others so-called experts suggest that AI is the silver bullet that will cure-all ills of the world… According to Babak Hodjat; it’s all just hype and confusion about what AI is, and what is realistically possible in this modern era… According to CB Insights; it’s clear that 9 of 10 investors have very little idea what AI is, so if you are a founder raising money, you should sprinkle AI in your presentation… Pitch decks and headlines today are filed with references to artificial intelligence and machine learning… But what do the terms really mean? Having at least passing knowledge of what you are talking about is a good first step…

In the article Hype Is About ‘AI’, But Real Action Is ‘IA’ by Anupam Rastogi writes: The philosophical war between artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (IA) has been waged for more than half a century, with the focus shifting between the two as each has made important strides… Classically ‘IA’ refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human capabilities. Whereas, ‘AI’ is increasingly being used to broadly describe machines that mimic human functions, such as; learning, problem solving… 

On one side, ‘AI’ camp believes the future of computing is autonomous systems that can be taught to imitate and replace human cognitive functions. A recent example is Google’s autonomous car, where the machine completely replaces human intervention and interaction… On other side, the ‘IA’ folks believe that information technology can supplement and support human thinking, analysis, planning… but leave humans at the center of human-computer interaction (HCI).

Consider a car collision avoidance system that can help a driver prevent an accident, but doesn’t actually remove the driver from the picture… While AI will play a larger role, it’s not a panacea. AI-based solutions work best in structured environments where all relevant information can be considered and where the goals of the system are clearly defined, e.g.; ordering a pizza, setting a meeting, playing chess…

In all these cases, while the number of possible outcomes that must be considered may be enormous, the outcome can be predicted with a high degree of confidence… This is exactly the situation where a powerful computer has an advantage over the human mind… On the other hand, ‘AI’ is not well suited to situations where goals and inputs are not well-defined; it’s here where ‘IA’ will continue to play major role. So, the AI vs. IA war isn’t a war after all.  They both have an important roles to play in the future…

In the article Get Real About Artificial Intelligence by Adam Lashinsky writes: Like many hyped subjects before it, artificial intelligence (AI) won’t do all everyone expects it to… And it won’t make money for everyone who slaps the buzzword on latest project… According to Jerry Kaplan; ‘AI’ has become a misnomer, at least in how most people understand it; it’s not so much about machines becoming intelligent and dominating humans… it’s about the continuation of longstanding efforts to automate tasks, dating back to start of industrial revolution, and beyond…

The fact of the matter is that AI already enables many products and services, hence it’s better to start understanding more about how AI works, than to believe the Hollywood-style hype about the futuristic scenarios. According to Mitch DeFelice; AI systems that predicts facts or even plays games is one thing but having ability, e.g.; to understand ‘sarcasm’… well, that is what separates humans from machine…

In the article Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark writes: Everything about civilization is a product of intelligence, hence amplifying human intelligence with artificial intelligence has potential of helping civilization flourish like never before– as long as technology is effectively managed… A captivating conversation is taking place about future of artificial intelligence and what it will/should mean for humanity…

There are fascinating controversies where world’s leading experts disagree, such as: AI’s future impact on job market; if/when human-level AI will be developed; whether this will lead to an intelligence explosion; and whether this is something we should welcome or fear… But there are many examples of pseudo-controversies caused by people misunderstanding AI and talking past each other. And many AI researchers roll their eyes when seeing headlines, like: Stephen Hawking warns that rise of robots is disastrous for mankind… 

When it comes to the potential of IA breakthroughs there is in spite of the hype much to be excited about., e.g.; there is vast and growing amount of mostly– unmined, unrefined, unmonetized data available related to critical problems, and IA ability to augment humans in the analysis of data so as to make; more intelligent, bias-free, decisions.

According to Om Malik; emphasis should be on augmentation, which helps humans interact and deal with the increasingly complex digital world… Augmented intelligence offers the possibility of winnowing an increasing number of inputs and options in a way that humans cannot possibly manage without a helping hand…

But the ultimate success or failure of AI and IA depends on whether developed as business solutions not science projects… Successful organizations hinge on market opportunities, productization, solving problems, rather than just implementation and study of interesting algorithms… Just as a great technology is necessary but an insufficient condition to create a successful organization… so is a great technology in absence of a viable business value proposition unlikely to become anything more than a science project…