Don't believe the AI hype

Posted 2019-03-07 by Alex Lennon
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AI is taking over. It’s everywhere. It’s in your phone, your car, even your toothbrush. No really, Oral-B have a toothbrush with “AI”.

Buzzword fatigue is a real thing especially in the world of technology startups. We’ve had the Big Data phase, the IoT phase, the Blockchain phase. It leaves us feeling like a parent watching our child go through early life and into their teens. We wonder: what’s the next phase? How long will it be? Is this the one that’s forever? Do we forget all that stuff we bought before and jump ship? Are all our friend’s kids doing this too?

A few years ago, there was a great joke by Dan Ariely of Duke University on Twitter: “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it."

Replace “Big Data” with “AI” and you get a good indication of the state of the AI buzz at the moment.

The worrying thing is that a recent study by MMC Ventures , found “that 40% of AI startups in Europe don’t use AI”. Combine this with the fact that startups claiming to use AI attract between 15-50% more funding than those that don’t, it paints an odd picture. For instance, if you have a chatbot system on your site, are you an AI startup? If you push personalized content to your users based on their behavior, are you an AI startup? In my opinion absolutely not. But this rampaging bandwagon is showing no signs of slowing down. I wonder how far it will go, and when and what the next phase will be.

I’ll leave you with a joke written by an AI neural network: “What do you call a cat does it take to screw in a light bulb? They could worry the banana.”

Right….I think AI is a lot further away than we think.

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