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What We're Reading - A.I.

Artificial Intelligence is fascinating, challenging, thrilling and scary.  Here's what we're reading this week on A.I.

Growing up the 70's and 80's, I remember watching "Computer" in Star Trek, HAL in 2001 A Space Odyssey, Arnold in The Terminator and the replicants in Blade Runner.  Although, the term Artificial Intelligence was coined by John McCarthy, a Mathematics professor at Dartmouth, in 1956, it wasn't as commonly used in my formative years of watching television.  Nevertheless,  I was fascinated by the distant future that awaits us but never imagined AI would advance to that level in my lifetime.

Today, AI, even in its infancy, is a part of our daily life.  Siri, Alexa, Watson and other AI with names, are ones many of us use, watch on Jeopardy or at least recognize.  In the current state, many people believe they will enhance our lives.   But what happens when they grow up?  Some people are very concerned AI may damage us, economically, culturally and even physically if we are not careful.  These are not conspiracy theorists at the fringes of our society that are concerned, but rather highly intelligent and influential individuals such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking.

There are few topics that are as interesting and controversial as AI.  Without a doubt it will increasingly impact our working and personal lives.  Here's a few interesting articles and posts I ran across recently related to A.I.

AI will change industries and business models.  This article in the New York Times discusses how AI is impacting the travel industry through the use of virtual assistants. The current view is positive, as one leader says, “lower-priority tasks will be handled by self-service artificial intelligence, which will free up human travel agents to do more of the intense work required.”

AI is at the heart of ride sharing and self driving cars.  A Wired magazine article examines how this is impacting the automobile industry. "People don't want cars, they want rides. That’s the existential fear plaguing automakers today. And they’re scrambling to do something about it."

Amazon is part of the Big Five (Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft).  All are investing and focusing on AI to drive the future of their business.  This article from Venture Beat looks at Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, as he wants AI to be the fourth pillar for Amazon, along with Retail, Prime and Web Services.

Our work will also be impacted by AI.  Fast Company magazine looks at the future of work through some surveys which shows a positive view of work and the impact from AI - from the Millennial generation.

For a less optimistic view this Gizmodo post looks at AI through the lens of a Kurt Vonnegut novel from 1952, Player Piano.  Vonnegut's, first novel was about a future dystopian society where the small elite class, Engineers and Managers, ruled the world through technology, while the large remainder of society, jobless and purposeless as a result of automation, live bleak lives as the lower class.

Lastly, Wired magazine looks at the end of code where AI allows us to train computers rather than coding them. Training as in Machine Learning where computers learn from massive amounts of data such as being able to recognize cats by being fed thousands of cat images.

By the way this post was not written by AI, but someday soon...

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