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Lessons from a quarter of a century playing with Artificial Intelligence

Thursday, December 14, 2023

An insect crawls across a landscape punctuated with barbed wire.

ChatGPT, Bing, Bard. AI tools are coming thick and fast, along with predictions as gloomy as the end of humanity.


It's 25 years since I first started playing with Artificial Intelligence. Science fiction started the itch but it was knowledge management, a half-finished MSc and IBM that turned it into a rash. I've kept tabs on what's unfolded, continuing to build my knowledge of the philosophy and psychology that underpins much of what's emerging in our phones.

This is what I've learned:

90% of "AI Powered Solutions" aren't.

It works better in tight domains with structured data than broad, uncertain ones.

Most people would spot the difference between me and Ed Sheeran. Google Photos still struggles.

Too often we use it to make a decision when we should use it to support human decision makers.

Language is hard. Nuance is harder.

I am not married to every Asian woman who has ever appeared in a photograph I've taken (Google Photos again).

An AI no more understands what it is asked to do than a one year old can read Hamlet in the original Klingon. Stop implying it does.

If you think AI will solve your relationship problems or protect your kids, you're going to be disappointed.

Your AI powered car will kill you on a balance of probabilities. It won't lose sleep over this.

Your AI powered car will kill a pedestrian on a balance of probabilities. You will lose sleep over this, even though there is nothing you could have done.

A cockroach is probably smarter than most AIs.

HAL is a warning about AI, but you won't understand why until 2010.

The most terrifying artificial intelligence in literature was created by a yacht designer.

Talk to your kids. It's faster, less expensive and more effective than waiting for AI to solve content moderation on Facebook.

And finally, there are some amazing researchers doing incredible work with and around Artificial Intelligence. Be patient. Evolution had 4 billion years and a few hundred million goes at developing intelligence. AI's been around a few decades.

Image created by me using Bing, then finessed in Affinity Designer.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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