A robot umpire illuminates the future of AI

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In a minor league baseball game in the Atlantic League, a robot called balls and strikes this week. But there was still a home-plate umpire, and he was still essential. This is a nice metaphor for the future of AI-assisted work. As described in The New York Times, the system applies rules about the strike … Continued

“The Age of Intent” — a big idea book about Artificial Intelligence

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Two years ago, I got the opportunity to start work on a book about artificial intelligence. Today, you get to see the result. AI is one of the most powerful forces driving technology right now. Conversational interfaces — whether that’s online chat or Alexa — are another. Artificially intelligent chatbots, also known as virtual agents, … Continued

Can AI write good articles?

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I asked an artificial intelligence to write an article. It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t completely awful, either. If you’re a writer, machines are nipping at your heels; it’s time to work on your creativity. Machines have been writing articles for years — but only in formulaic settings. For example, you won’t be shocked … Continued

What is machine learning? A psychedelic graphical journey

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You must always treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own. That’s the Iron Imperative, and it’s just as valid for graphics as it is for text. If you find yourself endlessly fiddling with with an elaborate diagram, ask yourself, “Is this really helping?” Then get help from a decent graphic artist. When … Continued

Some questions about the President’s American Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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President Trump announced the “American AI initiative” with an executive order. Like many such presidential pronouncements (and not just from Trump), it’s somehow both blustery and mushy. Let’s take it apart and see if it makes sense. In what follows, commentary is mine. Passages in bold italic are passive voice, weasel words, or other notably … Continued

The Trump Administration’s take on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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Over 100 government, academic, business, and technology leaders gathered at the White House recently to discuss Artificial Intelligence (AI). While there may have been intelligence in the room, very little was visible in the resulting document. The summary of the meeting is here. What is the government’s role in AI? While the government can help fund … Continued

The Fourth Transformation is your VR wake-up call

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Robert Scoble and Shel Israel just published The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Change Everything. It’s an indispensable guide to the future, and a gripping read. Get yourself a copy. This is not an unbiased review. While Scoble and Israel wrote this book and are responsible for the content, I edited it. … Continued

UPS and its customers are slaves of its technology

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UPS has the information about customers, locations, and shipments to be an amazing leader in customer experience (CX). It has the people, devices, and bar codes to turn the Internet of Things — of packages — into an artificially intelligent engine for customer delight. But based on my experience, UPS is the slave, not the master, … Continued