AI, Big data, Automation,
Gatorade commissioned this machine for a commercial. It took 5000 hours to build and uses 2048 nozzles that release water with millisecond timing and strobe lights to create animation from the reflections. This is not special effects or CGI.
Finance is a critical industry in the development and commercialization of AI trends in general and near-term machine learning applications specifically. JP Morgan's May report ‘Big Data and AI Strategies - Machine Learning and Alternative Data Approach to Investing' was intended to focus on technical applications of big data on investment analysis. But as this news story on efinancialcareers points out it is extremely valuable as a way to articulate the skills needed to execute the strategy.
Machine learning is a great technology that is moving really quickly. But the direction is also clear. I said before that every company needs to look at how artificial intelligence will be applied to their business. A half-joking point I made was that everyone's job becomes learning how to use AI to eliminate other people's jobs. Artificial intelligence isn't going away and regulation, ethic or ignoring the impact on the jobs market won't move us forward. This disruption is going to be more transformative than previous technological disruptions including smart phones, the internet, ecommerce or the PC revolution because it will destroy jobs at a much faster rate than it creates them and it will also destroy high paying, professional jobs as well. It is time to make it a national priority to decide how we handle it.
Human cloning has been the subject of plenty of science fiction but the process is extremely complex. It has become one of those generations is just a decade or so away....every decade. In my opinion this isn't where the action is. The applications are not that valuable and the costs, complexity and ethical roadblocks slow it every step of the way.
Gene manipulation has many more applications and is already ongoing. By reprogramming genes we can seemingly address an amazing range of conditions, ailments and maladies. Unlike cloning this has direct and extremely valuable commercial applications. So I suspect that while we watch and fret over cloning, gene manipulation will help us to build a better future.
When someone is 100% right and still fails to win an argument decisively ask yourself why. The data is conclusive. Increases in greenhouse gas emissions are in fact making the earth warmer. The reason why there is such a concerted effort to deny, obfuscate and distract from the issues is in part because of Paul Ehrlich.
The worst thing to ever happen to the environmental movement and climate change in particular was Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb. Among other things he predicted there would be no UK in the year 2000; that mass starvation was unavoidable; India would be decimated and 60 million would starve in the US alone. Ehrlich wasn't alone, there were those who looked at some simple math and predicted the deaths of hundreds of millions or billions of people. The calculations were simple, multiple crop production by the available land to grow food and then extend population growth forward to a full-fledged 'population bomb' and a massive deficit in food production was inevitable. So of course this would lead to resource wars and worldwide famine. Meanwhile others, most importantly Norman Borlaug, created the green revolution and figured out how to feed MORE people with the available land.
Those who bought into The Population Bomb fell into massive Malthusian logical fallacies and concluded that people were the problem. We had too many people. People were having too many babies. They expressed these concerns in the most outlandish of exaggerated claims. Eventually these chicken little were not only discredited, they became a go-to boogeyman for anyone who didn't like what they were told.
I believe we can always make things better. Most of the major trends of the world from industrialization to trade to immigration to computerization to the internet and social media have made, on balance, the world a better, safer, healthier place. Consuming resources IS the goal. We should be able to have more people, using more electricity and water and eating more meat and so on without destroying the planet. No there is no path to making that work today. Greater resource consumption is directly connected to greater emissions. We just to think smarter about things. I believe we could make a lot more progress on climate change if those on the correct side of it would agree to focus on how to have our cake and eat it too. It is funny how that expression is meant to highlight sacrifice. Similarly, too much of the modern environmental movement focuses on slowing progress, making people poorer and less free. Is that really the best we can do?
Climate change deniers see themselves as identifying this generation's Ehrlichs. Exaggerators who who can't be trusted. Ignore them and they will be proven wrong sooner or later. Meanwhile, some smart guy in a lab somewhere will probably solve the whole thing anyway, they assume. The biggest target are alarmist predictions. Denier sites are littered with quotes from the 1980s through An Inconvenient Truth, released over a decade ago that they say are littered with disproved doomsday scenarios.
This week the world's first commercial carbon capture plant came online. It is 1000 times more efficient than photosynthesis at capturing carbon from the air. Climeworks, the startup that created the facility, doesn't want to be identified as saying this alone will solve the problem. Not even close. But the question is, can't we refocus the climate change discussion away arguments that we need fewer people, living poorer lives and consuming fewer resources. If you believe that together we can do amazing things then let's agree to focus on solutions not prohibition.
This Harvard Business Review article shares some examples of how machine learning is being applied to optimizing business processes. The examples are good ones. 44% of US consumers prefer chatbots to humans. Customer relationships are improved by anticipating behavior and customizing strategies. It is being applied to screening and shortlisting job candidate applications or improving fraud detection and security systems.
The article is a light piece with these and just a few other examples. It doesn't speak to the patterns of these developments. AI is being used as a tool to optimize but it is also doing more and more things better than humans. The impact of AI is such that nearly every organization will need an AI strategy and just as they get one will realize the AI is not something that gets bolted on but is something that gets applied ubiquitous. In other words it becomes everyone's job to eliminate everyone else's job.
This is not to argue that AI should (or could) be slowed or avoided. But it is different than mobile smart devices, social media, online commerce and payments, the internet or even the PC or communications revolutions. AI will eliminate jobs much faster than it will create new ones. The unintended consequences will be huge. Massive shifts in employment could give way to a dramatic overall reduction in the demand for all labor. Those earlier (and still ongoing) technical revolutions did a good job of creating wealth and do create certain types of jobs. Most of my associates and I built careers on that foundation. But AI is not a tool like the others. It is a better way of thinking. Let's hope someone build an AI that can figure this out for us.
Michael Zammuto is the CEO of Completed.com and Cloud Commerce and a strategic adviser to several startups. Mike's background is in SaaS services, B2C sites and B2B firms and has worked extensively in online reputation, digital marketing and branding.