The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

100-year study on artificial intelligence impact

AI.pngStanford University has invited leading thinkers from a diverse range of expertise to begin the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), in an attempt to anticipate how the effects of artificial intelligence on every aspect of how people work, live, and play.

 

 

It will be interesting to see what comes of this, since none of the participants are likely to see it all the way to the end (or even halfway).

Machine Intelligence, business applications and retooling

 

thinking.pngOne of the areas that has had a significant renewal of public interest recently is the application of AI techniques, both in our personal lives as well as within the enterprise.

 

For those interested in learning more there are some courses on Coursera and EdX that cover the foundations of AI, but I have yet to find one that goes into real world applications. It seems there could easily be some industry specific coursework defined. Have you seen any that are useful??

 

I was in a discussion just this morning with someone and asked them about the intersection between User Interface Design and Automation, since in many cases humans are scarce and computing is abundant so a human centered design may actually be self-constraining. This will shift the kinds of designs we will accept.

 

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute recently put out A Guide to MIRI’s Research, which I’ve found to be an interesting resource for those thinking about the application of AI techniques and possible unintended consequences.

 

It states: “AI theory currently isn’t about implementation, it’s about figuring out how to ask the right questions.” That aligns with a post I put out a few weeks back about the goal of cognitive computing.

 

Although the Guide seems to be targeted at people looking to work in AI, there are some areas useful for those interested in learning more about the foundation of the topic. MIRI is fairly focused on AI safety – essentially not having a SkyNet scenario.

 

Whenever I read material in this space I always think back on the Heinlein book: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

 

AI and the CxO

AI.pngA while back I posted on cognitive computing and its implications on middle management. McKinsey recently put out a post on what may happen when Artificial intelligence meets the C-suite.

 

It doesn’t say that those in CxO roles will be replaced, but:

“As machine learning progresses at a rapid pace, top executives will be called on to create the innovative new organizational forms needed to crowdsource the far-flung human talent that’s coming online around the globe. Those executives will have to emphasize their creative abilities, their leadership skills, and their strategic thinking.”

 

These new structures will be critical, since cognitive computing techniques are not good at creative tasks, so the rewards for creative thinking (wherever they may be found) will increase as the more mundane tasks are automated.

 

The article talks about how difficult it is for people to understand exponential growth – it starts out gradually and then suddenly – it’s here. The interview with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson goes through a number of scenarios (taking place today) and what it might mean for the future of organizational executives and the difficult changes that will be required that will likely be undermined by the bias and selection process that got those leaders to that level.

XPrize for the automated creation of TED Talks

analytics.pngThe TED Conference announced an Artificial Intelligence XPRIZE today. The goal of TED curator Chris Andersen and Peter Diamandis, founder of the X PRIZE foundation, is to have an AI capable of giving a TED talk “so compelling  that it commands a standing ovation from... the audience.”

 

If this interests you, they are asking for your help in setting up the rules – see the on-line A.I. Xprize Ideas form.

 

I’ve mentioned before the automation of knowledge worker activities, the likely decline of middle management as we know it and how even artistic endeavors can at least be supplemented with automation. Maybe the results of this XPrize will make the boring corporate presentation obsolete

Man or Machine interview by Ray Kurzweil

I’ve mentioned in a few posts about the shift in computing capabilities and how that will change what humans may be focused on in the future and if there will be a day when computers have all the answers.

 

In an interview covering a few similar areas, Ray Kurzweil and The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray discussed advances in artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and what it means to be human. Ray is always a bit optimistic in his view of the future, but I’d rather be actively optimistic than passively caught by surprise.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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