Like any other exciting new technology, Artificial Intelligence has its fair share of hype, and in many cases, this rubs professionals and industry experts the wrong way. The recently concluded CES (Consumer Electronics Show) also showcased this- both hype and the real thing. Many industry experts have expressed their irritation on this- fabricated and over the blown display of AI abilities. They feel this discredits the society that is gullible to such hyped displays.
While there is always a fair mix of legitimate and well, suspicious claims for the magic of AI and what it can do, there are always some irritants that claim much more than they deliver. In many cases, the products and tools are larger than life, or even completely unbelievable. CES, by all accounts, displayed very fake AI, artificial humans as assistants and robots that were very much removed from reality.
This was not only about products but also tools like the “AI Photo Animator”, which came across as a slow, controlled giant animator, in a world of very fast pocket-sized smart animation tools that the millennials use per minute! One wonders, how that is an impressive application of AI!
In fact, there were some extremely cutting edge, high tech applications of AI, which were impressive enough to offset the ones that were not.
The question here, however, is not about the abilities of AI that were displayed. It is about the trust that humanity can or should build with AI. The robots that were displayed at CES were not about the capabilities of robotics, but the moot question was, with so many fakes, can we trust the real? An AI-based robot doing human tasks efficiently is still a bit of an anomaly, and there is a long way to go for the unidentifiable humanoids that popular culture displays. Robots still look like robots and move like machines, apparently, humanity has not reached the level of perfection yet.
But the thought-provoking thing is, are we going to be enamored by the hyped awe of what AI can do, or look more into the ‘can do’s and the ‘cannot-do’s of the display of AI apps. To date, largely the only industry that has actually used AI and robotics in perfect applications in the automotive industry. That seems to be the only vertical where AI has added huge value. But even there, experts observed that the supposedly autonomous’ vehicle was not completely driven by AI, but a large fraction of the controls were controlled and monitored by a human driver! This would apply to all industries, across all enterprise.
Clearly, a system of hyped abilities and enamored audiences completely sold out to the idea of a much superior AI may not be practical as of now. We need to be very clear that while AI will certainly come to mean many more things in the coming years, for now, it is largely about a healthy mix of machine and human. And till it proves its ability to run our lives smoothly, it’s better it stays hybrid- for the safety of everyone involved! What we need is less hype and more of the real thing! While the verdict is still out on whether companies should bandy about the term ‘AI’ for their product releases, it is certainly important that the claims of immortality be taken with a pinch of salt!