With 2018 right around the corner, we wrapped up our future-looking #cloudchat series with a conversation on artificial intelligence, or AI, which is software that emulate aspects of human cognition, and can accomplish human-level tasks such as visual perception, understanding and using speech. AI also has the ability to “learn” though only to a limited extent at this point.
From discussing the implications of an AI-centric world, to examining intersections with Internet of Things, big data and robotics, our final #cloudchat of the year left us equal parts excited about and vigilant to the future of technology.
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Ending the year on a strong note, our Chief Evangelist John Engates was joined by Feedback Networks’ Dana Love, Accenture Federal’s Dominic Delmolino, Cybric’s mike d. kail, Microsoft’s Charl Lee-Pearce, Uptake’s Brad Nicholas and Talla’s John Roberts to weigh in on the following AI-focused questions:
- Q1: Seems like we have always been fascinated with AI and robots, but the discussion has recently picked up steam. What events have happened lately to put AI at the center of the conversation?
- Q2: There are two dominant opinions about AI — that we are either opening Pandora’s box (@elonmusk) or that it will make for a brighter future (Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg). What side are you on?
- Q3: What is one way that you’re employing a tool powered by AI today? How has it helped you?
- Q4: Seems like the power of AI is when it intersects with other categories (IoT, big data, robotics, etc) rather than standing alone. Which intersection do you find the most intriguing? Why?
- Q5: Do you foresee any opportunities/jobs that are created as AI becomes more prevalent? Or do you believe that it will result in a net loss of jobs?
- Q6: Currently, the use of AI seems to be targeting specific problems/tasks. Do we ever get to the point where AI can replicate the human brain? What happens from this outcome?
AI and robots have been a hot topic for quite some time, but recently the conversation has picked up steam. We asked our cloud chatters to explain the sudden spike in conversation.
Charl Lee-Pearce said AI isn’t a new thing, but “a mix of unstructured data, tech and increased business investments in cloud have driven AI solutions.”
— Charl Lee-Pearce (@simchabe) December 21, 2017
John Roberts’ sight is set on 2018; some of this year’s conversation was just buzz, he said, while this year will reveal the true players in the AI space.
A1: #cloudchat much of this is driven by the flood of enterprise vendors announcing ML/AI strategies this year, particularly in the IT and HR markets. Most feel more like PR tactics than true innovation. Next year will identify the true players.
— John Roberts (@j_roberts) December 21, 2017
So what does an AI-centric world look like? We’ve seen seriously big players in the industry like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg take adverse stances on what the future holds. And our cloud chat experts were no different.
mike d. kail said he “leans more towards the brighter future,” explaining that the influx of data will continue to make AI more useful.
— mike d. kail (@mdkail) December 21, 2017
Mike Flynn said he’s hopeful, but sees a great need for regulation and vigilance. To quote Voltaire (and Spider-Man): With great power, comes great responsibility.
A2: #AI or #ML is just like any tool humans have ever made: You can use it to help yourself and others or you can hit someone over the head with it. The difference is that #AI is pretty heavy so we should be extra careful and regulate it's use and the data going in. #cloudchat
— That Other Mike Flynn (@thatmikeflynn) December 21, 2017
What about jobs? Will more machines result in a net loss? Dana Love thinks there is room for both opportunity and loss: “just like the factory #automation and streamlining revolution of the last 100 years, jobs will go through a sea change. When @titleist first made golf balls, they were wound by hand. Then machines wound them.”
A5: (1/2) The answer is “both.” Just like the factory #automation and streamlining revolution of the last 100 years, jobs will go through a sea change. When @titleist first made golf balls, they were wound by hand. Then machines wound them. #ai #cloudchat @rackspace
— Dana Love, PhD (@DanaFLove) December 21, 2017
As AI intersects with other categories like IoT, big data and robotics, we asked participants to weigh in on what intersections are most interesting to them.
Dominic Delmolino is looking forward to IoT and AI helping with generic actions and errands, while I’m personally fascinated by the intersection of AI and sports.
— Dominic Delmolino (@ddelmoli) December 21, 2017
A4: One potential intersection I find fascinating is #AI in sports—what happens when a manager an analyze all the previous pitches of the pitcher and is able to predict what will be thrown and where? Will be "striking" how baseball changes. #cloudchat pic.twitter.com/DOmWSUCYSK
— Garrett Heath (@pinojo) December 21, 2017
So where is AI heading — will it ever replicate the human brain? John Engates thinks so, adding that AI will begin to create AI, making the innovation faster than humans can comprehend.
A6: We will definitely get to the point where AI will be smarter/faster/better than human brain. It's just a matter of time. And more AI just shortens that time. #cloudchat
— John Engates (@jengates) December 21, 2017
AI will create AI. I believe it's already happening. When that fuse is lit, it will go faster and faster. Almost incomprehensible to humans. We mostly think linear, this is exponential. #cloudchat
— John Engates (@jengates) December 21, 2017
Enjoy our final #cloudchat of the year? You can read more from the experts on AI in our Twitter Moment below, and if you want to check out our 2017 #cloudchat recaps on everything from IT transformation to security, you can find them all here.
It’s been an exciting journey for #cloudchat in 2017, and we look forward to more conversations in the New Year!