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Bad PR Might Sink #ArtificialIntelligence | @CloudExpo #BigData #AI #ML #DL
Would you rather AI be a tool in human hands, or the other way around?

We've seen many buzzwordy innovations in technology over the last decade, from cloud computing to big data to microservices and beyond - but artificial intelligence (AI) by far has the most buzzword baggage.

On the one hand, AI is perhaps the most revolutionary set of innovations since the transistor. But on the other, the bad press surrounding it continues to mount, perhaps even faster than the innovations themselves.

We didn't suffer this kind of PR nightmare with the cloud, or the web, or even client/server. In fact, AI has an unprecedented set of PR challenges that threaten to sink the entire movement.

AI vendors, from the burgeoning gaggle of AI startups all the way to IBM, are all crowded together at the eye of this hurricane. However, this PR storm impacts enterprises as well, as AI promises to change the role technology plays for every industry on this planet.

That is, unless the killer robots do us in first.

PR Challenge #1: AI-Washing
I'll start with the most obvious challenge - obvious because this first challenge plagues all the hot buzzwords: AI-washing. As with cloud-washing and microservices-washing to name two of the most washiest of recent memory, the ‘washing' suffix reflects how vendors jump to use a new, exciting buzzword before their products truly deserve the moniker.

There's no question we're in the AI-washing phase of the AI revolution now. It seems that every vendor, from IT operations management to business intelligence to digital marketing, is now using AI under the covers. And in fact, most of them are in some fashion.

The problem isn't that these vendors are lying about what they're doing. The problem is that there are many different types of AI, from simple machine learning to much more complex deep learning and various types of cognitive computing. Today's vendors are in large part doing the easy stuff - making it difficult for the more advanced AI vendors to rise above the noise.

PR Challenge #2: Spotty Track Record
I remember when I was in college - and that was a long, long time ago - AI was the hot new trend in technology circles. Long before the Web was a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee's eye, researchers heralded AI as the Next Big Thing.

Even as a child, I remember seeing SHRDLU on television: an AI program that could interpret natural language commands and execute them in a virtual environment made up of blocks of various colors and sizes. For example, you could tell SHRDLU to put the blue block on the green block, but if there were a red block on the blue one, it was smart enough to move that one out of the way first.

And then - nothing. Decades of nothing. Sure, we had expert systems - but those were little more than rules engines, executing complex sets of if-then statements. Underwhelming to be sure.

Soon, the AI Winter came to pass - a period from roughly 1984 to 2005 where skepticism about AI led to cuts in funding for research, taking AI in a downward spiral of irrelevance.

However, progress did continue, slow and unnoticed, until Moore's Law and its numerous corollaries finally gave us the processor and storage horsepower we needed to actually get useful AI off the ground.

But to this day, people remember the AI Winter. Now we're perhaps in the AI Early Spring - but the chill is still in the air. Are we truly done with winter, or will it roll around again as it always seems to do?

PR Challenge #3: Job Killer
Automation has been putting people out of work since the Jacquard Loom helped kick off the Industrial Revolution in 1804. In the two centuries since, improvements in automation have transformed the world of employment, shifting corporate needs from repetitive manual labor to white-collar knowledge work.

Today, AI-driven assembly-line robots give us everything from mobile phones to automobiles with higher quality and at a lower real cost than ever before.

Yet, while the dual forces of automation and globalization have forever transformed the role of the blue-collar labor force, the worry is that AI will do the same thing to white-collar jobs as well.

Of course, secretaries and typing pools are mostly things of the past already. But what about financial analysts? Data analysts? Or other roles that heretofore have required highly educated, intelligent people?

AI-based software vendors are racing to deliver technology that will displace such well-trained white-collar professionals - and they're not going to slow down any time soon.

PR Challenge #4: Killer Robots
With the fourth challenge, the AI story diverges from all of the other buzzwordy trends in technology.

Due in large part to the impact of Hollywood and science fiction generally, AI has decidedly evil undertones. From HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey to Skynet in the Terminator movies, AI-run-amok as villain is an all-to-common trope.

The problem with this challenge is that it holds a kernel of truth, and furthermore, separating the real dangers of AI from the Hollywood-style imagined ones is surprisingly difficult.

Nobody really knows how to teach AI right from wrong. Is the CIA using your Amazon Echo to spy on you? It's perfectly OK with that.

Or perhaps (somewhat) more realistically: what if your babysitter says, "Alexa, deliver two large pepperoni pizzas," without your permission? You won't find out till the credit card bill arrives.

There is also bona fide concern among experts in the field that AI-coded AI programs will lead to increasingly intelligent AI-coding AI programs - all on a Moore's Law-accelerated timeline, leading to some kind of singularity - eventually resulting in, you guessed it, Killer Robots.

Science fiction? Perhaps - but just this week, Microsoft announced further progress on DeepCoder, AI able to write its own software (and no, it doesn't just steal other people's code the way some articles insinuate).

There are also suspicions that Trump's "weaponized AI propaganda machine" was behind his surprising win, as I explored in a recent article for Forbes.

The campaign used big data tools to be sure (as all modern campaigns do), but it's not clear whether AI played a significant role - and in any case, there was nothing stopping the Democrats from using AI, either. But if AI starts writing fake news instead of helping us identify it, we're all in trouble.

The Intellyx Take: Redefine ‘AI'
PR problems are difficult to fix, because they're about perception more so than reality - but there are a few tricks that can help move the needle.

My advice: let's change the meaning of AI from ‘Artificial Intelligence' to ‘Augmented Intelligence.'

When we say artificial we mean human made, as opposed to the natural intelligence that humans have. This distinction identifies two kinds of intelligence which we've now pitted against each other, battling for supremacy. This adversarial connotation to AI reinforces the job killer and killer robots memes in particular.

Augmented Intelligence tells a very different story. This phrase reinforces the fact that the only intelligence we have is the real, live, natural human intelligence we've always had. AI - no matter how smart it gets - can only serve to augment what we all were born with.

Furthermore, augmented intelligence connotes that AI is a human tool - a tool we might use for good or evil like all the other tools at our disposal, but a tool in human hands nevertheless.

And that's a good thing. Would you rather AI be a tool in human hands, or the other way around?

Copyright © Intellyx LLC. Intellyx publishes the Agile Digital Transformation Roadmap poster, advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives, and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. As of the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: robin red.

About Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.



Presentation Slides
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straig...
An edge gateway is an essential piece of infrastructure for large scale cloud-based services. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Mikey Coh...
CloudEXPO Stories
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
Traditional IT, great for stable systems of record, is struggling to cope with newer, agile systems of engagement requirements coming straight from the business. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, William Morrish, General Manager of Product Sales at Interoute, will outline ways of exploiting new architectures to enable both systems and building them to support your existing platforms, with an eye for the future. Technologies such as Docker and the hyper-convergence of computing, networking and storage creates a platform for consolidation, migration and enabling digital transformation.
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully been able to harness the excess capacity of privately owned vehicles and turned into a meaningful business. This concept can be step-functioned to harnessing the spare compute capacity of smartphones that can be orchestrated by MEC to provide cloud service at the edge.
An edge gateway is an essential piece of infrastructure for large scale cloud-based services. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Mikey Cohen, Manager, Edge Gateway at Netflix, detailed the purpose, benefits and use cases for an edge gateway to provide security, traffic management and cloud cross region resiliency. He discussed how a gateway can be used to enhance continuous deployment and help testing of new service versions and get service insights and more. Philosophical and architectural approaches to what belongs in a gateway vs what should be in services were also discussed. Real examples of how gateway services are used in front of nearly all of Netflix's consumer facing traffic showed how gateway infrastructure is used in real highly available, massive scale services.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and managed service, that enables cloud apps to be deployed securely, quickly, cost-effectively, and without human error.

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Digital Transformation Blogs
As Cybric's Chief Technology Officer, Mike D. Kail is responsible for the strategic vision and technical direction of the platform. Prior to founding Cybric, Mike was Yahoo's CIO and SVP of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and Data Center functions for the company. He has more than 24 years of IT Operations experience with a focus on highly-scalable architectures.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?