|By Jason Bloomberg||
|March 22, 2017 04:00 PM EDT||
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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Technologic Systems Inc., an embedded systems solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Technologic Systems is an embedded systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. They have been in business for 32 years, helping more than 8,000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Technologic Systems’ pr...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,270
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From ...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,673
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, will posit that disruption is inevitable for c...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,029
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,858
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,652
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,155
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,051
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
Mar. 25, 2017 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 904
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Mar. 25, 2017 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,520
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
Mar. 25, 2017 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,539
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Mar. 25, 2017 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,072
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathemat...
Mar. 25, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,912
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 4,210
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,032
"I think that everyone recognizes that for IoT to really realize its full potential and value that it is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces and that no single vendor is able to support what is required," explained Esmeralda Swartz, VP, Marketing Enterprise and Cloud at Ericsson, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,077
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Mar. 25, 2017 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 14,014
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 25, 2017 06:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,794
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Mar. 25, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 5,776
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 25, 2017 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,768
What sort of WebRTC based applications can we expect to see over the next year and beyond? One way to predict development trends is to see what sorts of applications startups are building. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arin Sime, founder of WebRTC.ventures, will discuss the current and likely future trends in WebRTC application development based on real requests for custom applications from real customers, as well as other public sources of information,
Mar. 25, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 680