Artificial Intelligence Rule #7: Close Enough


Rule #7 of artificialintelligence: close enough.

Number 7 is pretty far down the list, but “close enough” is an equally important concept for AI. Have you ever queried Google or Bing and gotten a single entry? Aka “the answer” to your question? No. I know I’ve gotten a single page of items in return (I ask some weird questions) but it always provides a menu of options.

The page ranking algorithms of Google are legendary and as closely guarded as military secrets. They aren’t carved in stone. Indeed the algorithms are manipulated in order to adjust for specific hacks as well as smoothing trends.

But artificial intelligence doesn’t provide solutions like an algebraic math problem. It’s stoic in its reply, showing no emotion and yet posing a voluminous suite of possibilities to be considered by the inquirer. Indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune, the ai sweeps the oceans of the internet to provide you what is . . . close enough.

Humans calculate those algorithms and only you decide what is “the answer.”

#machinelearning #aibots #algorithms #aibot #deeplearning #ml


Rule #4 of Artificial Intelligence: no context.  

#AIbots have been trained to do many mundane, repetitive jobs. Training involves utilizing data sets with often millions of data points. Without enthusiasm or angst, the AI ingests these volumes of data and returns outcomes by direction of its creator.  Given x-ray images of healthy and diseased lungs, we have to tell the AI which is good and bad. AIs are “rewarded” for correctly identifying the difference.

But an AI doesn’t know what a lung is, how it works, that it actually exists inside a person or what a person is. 

#Google was the first major developer in #recognition when it looped together 16,000 computer processors with one billion connections in order for it to watch #YouTube and find . . . cats.  This was a tremendous breakthrough for 2012, but isn’t this what a 5 year old understands without seeing millions of videos?

And a toddler knows colors and textures and if the cat is missing an eye or leg or tail. He or she knows cats are pets and most are found in or around homes. Cats walk on four legs; they don’t swim. Not everyone likes cats but they are loveable. 

This is context and the richness of a five year old’s perception outweighs a million data points.



Pet peeve – use of “literally.”

If you don’t understand literally vice figuratively, #artificialintelligence can set you straight. Rule#2 of #AI is everything is literal. AI does exactly as you tell it.  That can be annoying from a child or spouse or customer service chatbot. AI doesn’t have the contextual preferences of humans – which emotes angst and joy in the uncovering. Given a problem, AI is going to take the tasking literally. For example:

I hooked a neural network up to my Roomba. I wanted it to learn to navigate without bumping into things, so I set up a reward scheme to encourage speed and discourage hitting the bumper sensors. It learnt to drive backwards, because there are no bumpers on the back. – @smingleigh

This is an interesting concept because the “bugs” that you deal with your computer, your phone, your network, your business are likely a synergy of literal translation. Code knows 0 or 1, and coders get that.  The rest of us are swimming in “why the hell is this broken” when the answer is a literal question return.

#saywhatyoumean #meanwhatyousay

AI Bots on Billie Eilish

#Imabiscuit #billieeilish

In my last post, i talked about how #artificialintelligence is NOT the super borg/being that could take over the world. So why not?  #AI is #machinelearning and we are the teachers. 

One of the earliest and prolific examples is Google translate.  Instead of using rules based learning: vocabulary + grammar = new language, AI consumes the Internet’s volumes of translations online, eating everything, idioms and nuances.  The human level equivalent for a single language would be blind, total immersion. Go to a country knowing nothing of the language and simply listen, read and repeat, making mistakes along the way. 

Humans have to train the data too, teaching it right from wrong.  #AIbots don’t know – and don’t care – what the output is – as your text auto completion can attest. What comes out as a result is sometimes odd and sometimes beautiful – kinda like its human creators.

If you’re thinking wow, how cool, and wouldn’t something that can learn language better than we can take over the world? Not so much. The #trialanderror is as large as the training data set (100 billion translations as of 2016).  The results of a single translation are a lottery ticket sample size. #youtube abounds with examples of how #googletranslate doesn’t quite figure it out.

Check out “I’m a biscuit.” Better known as #badguy

The Skinny on Artificial Intelligence






The pop fiction visions of #artificialintelligence bifurcate to optimism or pessimism. #AI is either going to take over the world or it’s going to become a better best friend than real people. These fictitious characters are examples of artificial general intelligence (#AGI) .  Although it makes for great movie substance, the reality of AGI is further away than Mars travel and likewise some argue, impossible. 

What generates numerous effects in your daily life now is Artificial Narrow Intelligence (#ANI).  ANI finishes your sentences in Gmail or texts. ANI filters your spam and selects music for you. #Siri ANI answers your questions.

ANI – the AI we have today – can do specialized tasks far better than we can, but that’s all it can do.  As Janelle Shane puts it though, “machines have been superior to humans at specific tasks for a while now. A calculator has always exceeded humans’ ability to perform long division – but it still can’t walk down a flight of stairs.” – You Look Like a Thing and I Love You.

So oddly, the ability to walk and chew gum still pays off 😉

The Dark Side of AI



I would have lead with #youhadmeathello but that’s too benign a lead in for the #darkside of #artificialintelligence . Yes, you’ve heard #AI is not all good and the commercial tearjerker #googleAI shows us why by consoling a widower. Emotions are the most dangerous drug.  Addiction becomes an inability to resist the high whether it is good or bad for the host.

Kudos to #Google marketing though for getting me to hold my breath from the first second to finish of the vignette. I thought perhaps they were solutioning #alzheimers and I still think they left that innuendo lingering on the table with the photographs.

But that’s the issue. 

Using human emotion so intensely is a very slippery slope. We’d do anything to assuage the pain and keep his memories fresh and tender – but perhaps at what cost? Linger in the good feelings too much and you fail to live the life in front of you. #AI needs humans to teach it. Follow that trail long enough and perhaps you’d see how possibly Loretta was actually only the #aibot of his dreams. Reality was never that pleasant and painless. 

AI let’s you live a life that never was.

What did we do before #alexa ?


Leave it to #Amazon to remind us with a whimsical and historical perspective. In days of yore – or pre-1990s – asking for something to be done involved asking a person to do it. The news was always there, but the channel was limited to singular, often isolated sources (but still subject to heavy interpretation). Jokes and songs were live performances. A message to a lover hazarded the peril of birds of prey and not cell coverage or battery life. 

But . . . these things still happened. #artificialintelligence didn’t create new content so much as enable pace, reliability, reproduction, and perhaps consistency. I imagine most think this is goodness and I agree. The tax is the freedom and burden of space to “do”more. This is the essence of the #goodness of #ai .

The downside of #ai ? That’s another post . . . and another #superbowlcommercial 🙂

Have a great #mondaywisdom

Tony Stark vs Robert Downey Jr

Is this #tonystark or #robertdowneyjr ?

Week 2 of #mondaywisdom on #artificialintelligence . This is the future of #ai – or is it?  

Watch but don’t be fooled by the very slick production but if the point is to demonstrate the power of AI then we should be scared shtless.  In the future, we won’t need friends or babies because we can basic make better relationships than actual humans.

The irony and the POINT is in the comments on #youtube though. You’ll find a more insightful and colorful and funny discussion of the clip: NOTHING about the pros and cons or magic or whatever of AI but whether the actor has become his role of #ironman or vice versa. Poignant: Tony Stark has been recreated in a gray area between literary character and real person in order to capture attention and at the same time establish credibility . . . through a fictional character.

Meanwhile the actor/character is reporting on how artificial intelligence can virtually recreate better people than the ones we have to deal with in real life.

Choose your friends wisely 😉

Are you there God? It’s me Margaret’s AI Bot

This post is the first in a series on #artificialintelligence – which you should know is a controversial subject. Even if you think you know what Artificial Intelligence means, it’s a good chance you’re not sure and even then you may be off the mark. The spectrum of #AI application is both widely utilized and narrowly applied. Specifically and precisely . . . AI covers a lot of #data ground.

Instead of starting with the WHAT of AI, we’ll start with WHY – as in, why do you care?

AI can and can’t do a lot of things but pretty much all its current and future potential does touch you. Yes, it suggests what you might want on #netflix and #amazon . AI produces #google answers to searches. AI makes #lyft and #uber possible. AI conveniently reduces spam in your inbox and allows you to deposit checks from your living room. Further down the road, AI is enabling #selfdrivingcars – which potentially can reduce traffic. Cool. But those cars have had fatalities and AI has a darker side. AI has been accused of influencing political elections (#trump) and enabling #autonomousweapons. These are things you should know because unless you’re an ostrich, AI is in your life and it’s watching you.

I’ll let the folks at #MIT explain . . .