When 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in 1968, viewers around the world were incredibly fascinated by the potential of HAL, the on-board computer of the Discovery 1. Designed to be infallible, HAL commits its first mistake during the space mission, becoming suddenly unreliable. And it’s just when he discovers that the astronauts on board plan to disarm it that the Artificial Intelligence device begins to plan to eliminate the entire crew.
If Kubrik’s masterpiece was projected today, if 2001: A Space Odyssey suddenly became 2031: A Space Odyssey, the public’s reaction would be totally different.
Artificial Intelligence has become reality and has been recently the center of an intense debate involving important decision makers, scientists, philosophers, and innovators around themes such as ethics, progress, and (in the last instance) safeguard of the human race.
The debate about the consequences of this technology reignited last month when Facebook suddenly stopped an Artificial Intelligence experiment after discovering the robots had independently developed a brand-new language, unintelligible to humans. Researchers from the Facebook AI Research Lab (FAIR) had noticed that the machines were communicating in a totally unexpected way: an episode that emphasizes both the potentials and the most disturbing aspects of AI.
In spite of the incident, Zuckerberg is optimistic about AI, and in particular about the progress in basic research which, according to the CEO of Facebook, can improve systems in many different fields – from the diagnosis of illnesses to the use driverless-cars, from the improvement of virtual assistants to the optimization of search engines.
Elon Musk, CEO at Tesla, is not of the same opinion, and recently defined Artificial Intelligence as being more dangerous than North Korea. Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak have both repeatedly stressed how using this technology can lead to tragic and unexpected consequences.
In 2014, Stephen Hawking had already alerted the world and the scientific community on how AI could mean the end of mankind. Unlike man, which is limited by slow biological evolution, robots are able to reprogram and learn new languages at higher speeds, leading to the inevitable supremacy of machines, the scientist argued.
Google has also intervened several times in the public debate and has recently released a video highlighting the danger of using Artificial Intelligence in decision-making processes. According to the tech giant, computers find solutions by identifying patterns in large amounts of data, driving to think there is no bias in this operation. However, just because something is based on data doesn’t automatically make it neutral (read this article to learn more on the three categories of bias identified by Google).
The centrality of topics connected to Artificial Intelligence on the world agenda reflects the growing investments and commercial operations. In 2014, Google absorbed the startup DeepMind for a reported $400 million, one of the most significant acquisitions in the history of this industry. Spotify has also recently assimilated several companies with the goal of using technology to improve its content recommendations and advertisement targeting. Microsoft Ventures itself has launched a new investment fund for AI startups.
Artificial Intelligence has therefore become a central theme in any tech conference, festival or workshop. On November 9th and 10th, the most influential actors of emerging technologies will gather in Milan in a ‘two days’ of near future scenarios and practical demonstrations, sharing insights and solutions for the business of various industries, including retail, manufacturing, automotive, entertainment and media.
So the discussion around AI continues, and it will just become more intense.
What will make a difference is the ability (technical but especially strategic) of small startups (which are however likely to be acquired by tech giants) and large companies to control this technology and to quickly identify evolutions and applications that their competitors haven’t imagined yet.
This is a guest blog post by Hira Saeed, Community Leader, Startup Weekend Karachi who writes about AI startups, Chatbots and Big data.
April Fools’ Day is something that we humans celebrate with all our hearts. Whether it’s making the fool out of parents or friends, we do it wholeheartedly. To get familiar among the masses, Tech companies do it as well with of course with of course highly paid ads and other stuff. Silicon Valley where most of the tech companies live is known to be sort of un-funny because of the geeks working there but in this April Fools’ Day there were super hilarious! Last year was a good one, but this year the giants stepped up their game and were really funny. So let’s have a review of this year’s top Tech April Fools Hoaxes!
The AI Revolution
LOL-BOT was hilarious but we’re not talking about it right now and yes, the AI Trip Managers are real! We’re reviewing the super-funny ad by Infiniti Telecommunications. It was a super fun and satirical dig at our industry where everything is “revolutionised by AI” nowadays. The ad started with the Top Management of Infiniti Telecommunications explaining the revolutionary technology that’s going to replace all their customer service’ staff. They further explained that with this technology, they wouldn’t need to outsource the customer service from Philippines or India. The chatbot in the ad was funny and performed like every other chatbot. And when are they going to release it? 1st April!
With Google, it’s always the polite humour! Google is known to be the funniest tech company because it was Google that started this trend of celebrating April Fools’ in the tech industry. To celebrate this April Fools’ Day Google turned the Google Maps into a Pac Man game. So by using the Google Map, you’re actually Pac Man munching its way to the destination. This prank of Google received critical acclamation because of the decency and great design of this campaign. Google even started a competition between among people which basically nominates the highest scorer as the winner. With this sweet collaboration with Pac Man spread smiles all around the globe.
A Study in Pink
Just like last year, T-Mobile was hilarious and satirical this year as well! Okay so, the ad started with how “little wrist bands” cannot analyse what’s going on in the other parts of body and that is a huge problem making T-Mobile to come up with a revolutionary pink full-body wearable named ONEsie. According to T-Mobile, it’s where “couture meets connectivity”. The ridiculous full-body wearable is hailed by T-Mobile in this ad as a sporty and comfortable design. Oh, and it keeps track of what’s happening in your body and along with that, it incorporates 4G LTE as well, making you a human hotspot. Well played, T-Mobile.
Amazon usually comes off as a bored tech giant but it’s really funny when it comes to pranking. This year Amazon has create Petlexa! Petlexa is the alternative of Alexa (yes, the AI assistant). Amazon killed it with a hilarious ad where pets are trying to communicate with Petlexa and it’s not really helping them. For example, in a shot, a cat grunts and Petlexa says:” Okay, ordering sushi now”. Well, the satirical tone of ad is just like the prank that they’re roasting the not-so-useful AI-assistants.
5 hand-picked articles from across the Startup Digest Reading Lists. Sign up to receive great weekly content on various topics from expert curators.
1. Disabled musicians create music from brainwaves
By Tim Muffett
Curator: Katie Chase
Disabled musicians given an interface to write once again and hear their compositions. Amazing. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bRbc8P
2. Google Computers Defeat Human Players at 2,500-Year-Old Board Game
By Jack Clark
Digest: Artificial Intelligence
Curators: Bjorn Larsen & Nitzan Hermon
Jack Clark at Bloomberg, whose reporting on AI is some of the clearest and most technically rigorous going, explains why a Google computer system beating a master-level player of the game of Go matters:
The systems used by Facebook and Google were not preprogrammed with specific if-this-then-do-that code or explicitly told the rules. Instead, they learned to play at a very high level by themselves. These techniques can be adapted to any problem “where you have a large amount of data that you have to find insights in,” Hassabis said. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bRaKQv
3. 3D Printed TSA Master Keys Leaked from a photograph
By Bruce Schneier
Digest: 3D Printing
Curator: Dilanka Wettewa
If you weren’t aware of this screw up, you are in for a treat. Late last year, The Washington Post accidentally used a picture of the TSA Master Keys in one of their articles and guess what happened? Someone designed 3D Printable replicas of those master keys and released them on the internet. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bRbSbz
4. How BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti Is Building A 100-Year Media Company
By Noah Robischon
Digest: Media Models
Curator: Holly Knowlman
To me, it feels like Buzzfeed had their game plan figured out long ago. It’s great to see them take the lid off about their philosophies on getting things in place. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bRbDY9
5. 25 Epic, Must-Read Blog Posts About Fundraising
By Alex Iskold
Curators: Zubin Chagpar & Chris McCann
Alex has consolidated various epic funding blogs by experts on the topic. Worth bookmarking. Read More
More from this reading list: http://eepurl.com/bQ_-SP