Welcome!

Machine Learning Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Computing , Machine Learning , @CloudExpo

Artificial Intelligence: Article

Bad PR Might Sink #ArtificialIntelligence | @CloudExpo #BigData #AI #ML #DL

Would you rather AI be a tool in human hands, or the other way around?

We've seen many buzzwordy innovations in technology over the last decade, from cloud computing to big data to microservices and beyond - but artificial intelligence (AI) by far has the most buzzword baggage.

On the one hand, AI is perhaps the most revolutionary set of innovations since the transistor. But on the other, the bad press surrounding it continues to mount, perhaps even faster than the innovations themselves.

We didn't suffer this kind of PR nightmare with the cloud, or the web, or even client/server. In fact, AI has an unprecedented set of PR challenges that threaten to sink the entire movement.

AI vendors, from the burgeoning gaggle of AI startups all the way to IBM, are all crowded together at the eye of this hurricane. However, this PR storm impacts enterprises as well, as AI promises to change the role technology plays for every industry on this planet.

That is, unless the killer robots do us in first.

PR Challenge #1: AI-Washing
I'll start with the most obvious challenge - obvious because this first challenge plagues all the hot buzzwords: AI-washing. As with cloud-washing and microservices-washing to name two of the most washiest of recent memory, the ‘washing' suffix reflects how vendors jump to use a new, exciting buzzword before their products truly deserve the moniker.

There's no question we're in the AI-washing phase of the AI revolution now. It seems that every vendor, from IT operations management to business intelligence to digital marketing, is now using AI under the covers. And in fact, most of them are in some fashion.

The problem isn't that these vendors are lying about what they're doing. The problem is that there are many different types of AI, from simple machine learning to much more complex deep learning and various types of cognitive computing. Today's vendors are in large part doing the easy stuff - making it difficult for the more advanced AI vendors to rise above the noise.

PR Challenge #2: Spotty Track Record
I remember when I was in college - and that was a long, long time ago - AI was the hot new trend in technology circles. Long before the Web was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye, researchers heralded AI as the Next Big Thing.

Even as a child, I remember seeing SHRDLU on television: an AI program that could interpret natural language commands and execute them in a virtual environment made up of blocks of various colors and sizes. For example, you could tell SHRDLU to put the blue block on the green block, but if there were a red block on the blue one, it was smart enough to move that one out of the way first.

And then - nothing. Decades of nothing. Sure, we had expert systems - but those were little more than rules engines, executing complex sets of if-then statements. Underwhelming to be sure.

Soon, the AI Winter came to pass - a period from roughly 1984 to 2005 where skepticism about AI led to cuts in funding for research, taking AI in a downward spiral of irrelevance.

However, progress did continue, slow and unnoticed, until Moore's Law and its numerous corollaries finally gave us the processor and storage horsepower we needed to actually get useful AI off the ground.

But to this day, people remember the AI Winter. Now we're perhaps in the AI Early Spring - but the chill is still in the air. Are we truly done with winter, or will it roll around again as it always seems to do?

PR Challenge #3: Job Killer
Automation has been putting people out of work since the Jacquard Loom helped kick off the Industrial Revolution in 1804. In the two centuries since, improvements in automation have transformed the world of employment, shifting corporate needs from repetitive manual labor to white-collar knowledge work.

Today, AI-driven assembly-line robots give us everything from mobile phones to automobiles with higher quality and at a lower real cost than ever before.

Yet, while the dual forces of automation and globalization have forever transformed the role of the blue-collar labor force, the worry is that AI will do the same thing to white-collar jobs as well.

Of course, secretaries and typing pools are mostly things of the past already. But what about financial analysts? Data analysts? Or other roles that heretofore have required highly educated, intelligent people?

AI-based software vendors are racing to deliver technology that will displace such well-trained white-collar professionals - and they're not going to slow down any time soon.

PR Challenge #4: Killer Robots
With the fourth challenge, the AI story diverges from all of the other buzzwordy trends in technology.

Due in large part to the impact of Hollywood and science fiction generally, AI has decidedly evil undertones. From HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey to Skynet in the Terminator movies, AI-run-amok as villain is an all-to-common trope.

The problem with this challenge is that it holds a kernel of truth, and furthermore, separating the real dangers of AI from the Hollywood-style imagined ones is surprisingly difficult.

Nobody really knows how to teach AI right from wrong. Is the CIA using your Amazon Echo to spy on you? It's perfectly OK with that.

Or perhaps (somewhat) more realistically: what if your babysitter says, "Alexa, deliver two large pepperoni pizzas," without your permission? You won't find out till the credit card bill arrives.

There is also bona fide concern among experts in the field that AI-coded AI programs will lead to increasingly intelligent AI-coding AI programs - all on a Moore's Law-accelerated timeline, leading to some kind of singularity - eventually resulting in, you guessed it, Killer Robots.

Science fiction? Perhaps - but just this week, Microsoft announced further progress on DeepCoder, AI able to write its own software (and no, it doesn't just steal other people's code the way some articles insinuate).

There are also suspicions that Trump's "weaponized AI propaganda machine" was behind his surprising win, as I explored in a recent article for Forbes.

The campaign used big data tools to be sure (as all modern campaigns do), but it's not clear whether AI played a significant role - and in any case, there was nothing stopping the Democrats from using AI, either. But if AI starts writing fake news instead of helping us identify it, we're all in trouble.

The Intellyx Take: Redefine ‘AI'
PR problems are difficult to fix, because they're about perception more so than reality - but there are a few tricks that can help move the needle.

My advice: let's change the meaning of AI from ‘Artificial Intelligence' to ‘Augmented Intelligence.'

When we say artificial we mean human made, as opposed to the natural intelligence that humans have. This distinction identifies two kinds of intelligence which we've now pitted against each other, battling for supremacy. This adversarial connotation to AI reinforces the job killer and killer robots memes in particular.

Augmented Intelligence tells a very different story. This phrase reinforces the fact that the only intelligence we have is the real, live, natural human intelligence we've always had. AI - no matter how smart it gets - can only serve to augment what we all were born with.

Furthermore, augmented intelligence connotes that AI is a human tool - a tool we might use for good or evil like all the other tools at our disposal, but a tool in human hands nevertheless.

And that's a good thing. Would you rather AI be a tool in human hands, or the other way around?

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: robin red.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

CloudEXPO Stories
​Blockchain, also known as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), can be used for more than just crypto currencies. This presentation discusses how blockchain and the Internet of Things (IOT) can be used for several supply chain management and logistics use cases. Real world examples that utilize the open source project Hyperledger will be discussed.
Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making Perfect Gym Solutions one of the largest and fastest growing SaaS applications in the fitness industry. Their platform is a comprehensive package of modern modular products for the management of fitness clubs, sports facilities and gyms an end- to end solution, revolutionising the way that gyms are managed.
Eric Taylor, a former hacker, reveals what he's learned about cybersecurity. Taylor's life as a hacker began when he was just 12 years old and playing video games at home. Russian hackers are notorious for their hacking skills, but one American says he hacked a Russian cyber gang at just 15 years old. The government eventually caught up with Taylor and he pleaded guilty to posting the personal information on the internet, among other charges. Eric Taylor, who went by the nickname Cosmo the God, also posted personal information of celebrities and government officials, including Michelle Obama, former CIA director John Brennan, Kim Kardashian and Tiger Woods. Taylor recently became an advisor to cybersecurity start-up Path which helps companies make sure their websites are properly loading around the globe.
There's no doubt that blockchain technology is a powerful tool for the enterprise, but bringing it mainstream has not been without challenges. As VP of Technology at 8base, Andrei is working to make developing a blockchain application accessible to anyone. With better tools, entrepreneurs and developers can work together to quickly and effectively launch applications that integrate smart contracts and blockchain technology. This will ultimately accelerate blockchain adoption on a global scale.
As the fourth industrial revolution continues to march forward, key questions remain related to the protection of software, cloud, AI, and automation intellectual property. Recent developments in Supreme Court and lower court case law will be reviewed to explain the intricacies of what inventions are eligible for patent protection, how copyright law may be used to protect application programming interfaces (APIs), and the extent to which trademark and trade secret law may have expanded relevance to the cloud. Best practices for intellectual property protection, licensing, and other topics will be presented, including checklists for engineers, product managers, sales/marketing, and other constituencies. Drawing upon his pre-lawyer life as a product manager for cloud based products, the presenter will emphasize those topics believed to be most practically relevant.