The subject of how tempted we are to treat artificial intelligent entities as real human beings has some up once again.
Our popular culture carries with it themes, pseudo-science, and technical fears. Woe to any company whose product missteps into that quagmire.
Computers are good a generating speech, parsing human speech and minimally translating text. But when will it feel like there’s genuine, human intelligence on the computer’s part?
What happens when AI machine learning becomes so sophisticated and inscrutable that humans can no longer understand how an AI came to a decision? AI processes will go far beyond simple structured code that can be debugged and audited. Will we just shrug and accept? John maps out the major issues with advanced AIs.
Artificial Intelligence agents started out as friendly voices that could answer some simple questions. We’re in a new phase now in which AI agents can order goods and control our home. Recently, Google tried to jump to another level when it introduced an ad into a morning briefing. We can see where this is going, and it’s not good.
From time to time, we’ve seem articles that explain Apple’s plight with its TV business. But John has found a splendidly complete diagnosis at The Verge for this week’s focus. It examines the deepest motivations of Apple, it’s clash with the entertainment industry, its successes and failures, and how that has, in turn, affected Apple TV software design and customer perceptions.
Right after Apple revealed more of its plans to the U.S. Government regarding its autonomous car project, we learn that Apple is going to break with tradition and start publishing its AI research. This is an interesting sequence of events. John speculates on what may have been the cause of Apple’s more open approach.
From time to time, we get really excited about some new gadget from Google. But then we discover later that there’s long way to go to make it a successful consumer product. On the other hand, Apple is the kind of company that can productize a great new technology. Perhaps the Apple Watch has given Apple new confidence that it can do the same for AR.
Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?
Siri, as we’ve know her (or him), has been both a blessing and a frustration. The technology, when it works is brilliant, but when its limitations are exposed, it can be very frustrating. Our appetite for a stellar chatbot companion has merely been whetted, and we’re about to get it. From Apple. On its terms. With privacy.
It’s not surprising that Apple is warming up to the idea of machine intelligence and AI agents with its $200 million purchase of Turi. The company needs to do that to remain competitive with Google and Microsoft. But, over and above that, the beneficial side effects will have even deeper implications for Apple as a company and its future.
Computers play better chess than humans. They can be instructed on how to do detailed manufacturing, beyond the abilities of humans. They shrewdly buy and sell stock. They can read medical literature and aid in the treatment of disease. It won’t be long before even the last bastion of the human mind, creative writing, will be replaced by AI agents. John looks at the trend line.