Phil Friedman en Lifestyle, Engineers and Technicians, English Writer/Editor | Marketer | Ghost Writer | Marine Industry and Small-Business Consultant • Port Royal Group 5/12/2017 · 3 min de lectura · 2,7K

The Prophets vs the Profits of AI

The Prophets vs the Profits of AI

"People degrade themselves in order to make machines seem smart all the time. Before the crash, bankers believed in supposedly intelligent algorithms that could calculate credit risks before making bad loans. We ask teachers to teach to standardized tests so a student will look good to an algorithm. We have repeatedly demonstrated our species' bottomless ability to lower our standards to make information technology look good."  ― Jaron Lanier, You Are Not a Gadget


“Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the web. It would understand exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. We're nowhere near doing that now. However, we can get incrementally closer to that, and that is basically what we work on.” — Larry Page, Quoted in

So it seems Larry Page sees the standard for being intelligent in terms of understanding what's on the web, figuring out what we're looking for, and returning the right information to us. Sort of like a Super-Librarian, I guess. Not very "intelligent" but at least it's pretty benign.

In contrast, Elon Musk paints a potentially very dark side to artificial intelligence, one he feels needs watching and strong oversight as it develops.

“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean with artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon.” Elon Musk at MIT’s AeroAstro Centennial Symposium

Yet, they are both invested heavily in the development of Artificial Intelligence or AI or both  take your pick. How does this come to be?

The answer is not to be found with the Prophets of Artificial Intelligence but in the Profits of AI...

— Phil Friedman in Show Me the Intelligence

Those who stand to profit big from the investment dollars that flow into the AI industry, naturally hype the potential of Artificial Intelligence and AI.  And they can do so either by extolling its potential virtues or by decrying its potential dangers. Both these approaches stimulate publicity and public attention and a belief in the coming "singularity". And it matters not a whit to the Profits of AI which alternative view is pursued.

"A recent report asserts that the artificial intelligence (AI) industry will reach a compound annual growth rate of 17.2% by 2023. The market is set to swell to a whopping $14.2 billion over the next six years, up from just $525 million in 2015..."

— From

So many are so vested in the Profits of AI that all semblance of perspective or scientific sense is being cast to the wind, to be replaced or overshadowed by a gruel of public relations spin, marketing hyperbole, and sci-fi fantasy.

If you doubt that, take a look at the following infographic chosen by random from the hundreds of puff pieces published daily about artificial intelligence and AI. (Click on the image below to view the infographic.)

Notice that in levels III and IV of the depicted "evolution" of AI the levels at which development moves from smart machines to what we commonly think of as true "artificial intelligence" the only examples provided are straight out of science fantasy. Not only that, they are presented as though they are or soon will be a reality. Yea, right. Just like manned space flight to the outer reaches of the universe.   Phil Friedman

Author's notes:  If you are interested in further reading on the topic of Artificial Intelligence, you should not miss the following two articles by Philippe Collard:

This piece is the fourth in a series on Artificial Intelligence that I am writing from a layman's point of view, one that is not filtered through the eyes and judgment of someone with a vested interest in the hyping of AI. If you'd care to read the other articles in the series, they are:

1) "Artificial Un-Intelligence"

2) "The Emperor May Be a Bot... But He Still Has No Clothes"

3) "The Robots Are Coming, the Robots Are Coming"

4) "The Prophets VS the Profits of AI"

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About me, Phil Friedman:   With some 30 years background in the marine industry, I've worn different hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I'm also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.  In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.

Before writing comes thinking (The optional-to-read pitch):

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers, would-be writers, and business people who want to enhance their reasoning and writing skills, master the logic of discussion and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement.

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Text Copyright 2017 by Phil Friedman  —  All Rights Reserved
Image Credits: Phil Friedman and Google



Phil Friedman 11/12/2017 · #20

#19 Yogesh, thank you for reading and joining the conversation. And for sharing this piece. You make some excellent points. Cheers!

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Yogesh Sukal 10/12/2017 · #19

As @Franci🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador mentioned people will be more dependent on AI and won't be able to do anything on their own.

Its like tranfering intelligence from human to machine, like negative evolution.
as this quote on internet.
"I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots"

but if we get bigger problem to solve understanding our universe.
Artficial Intelligence with proper regulation should be helpful for these biggest questions like space exploration.

and the generation will not be idiot but wiser than us, providing proper regulation for AI and morality for humans.

Thank you for thought provoking buzz @Phil Friedman

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Phil Friedman 10/12/2017 · #18

#17 Could you please direct us to the primary source if the two anecdotal incidents you cite? There is much fabrication of fake claims about AI, especially on Facebook where the level if fake is awesome. Cheers!

Numo Quest 10/12/2017 · #17

There already have been two incidents involving 'AI' and the latest one of Facebook where two computers were programmed to communicate with each other where suddenly the programs discovered that both computers started to produce programming in a language and algorithm not understand by the programmers. In panic they shut down these and it still is under investigation how to progress from there.

Up to now many commercial entities constant are hyping Artificial Intelligence, which basically, if one like to think about it for a few moments, simply doesn't exist. Every type of intelligence has it's own dynamics hence, baring value. The only AI, meaningful for commercial use is self learning AI but, if one programs just that, don't be surprised if that AI will distinct itself to become as UniQue as you and me.

What many forget is there are Universal Principles working, omnipotent, yet, unknown to many, that here also plays a vital role. Either, one creates a form of AI which can be controlled, let's say Smart Controllable Intelligence like to program a butler or nurse for the simple controllable tasks and stay away from the programming like Facebook has tried. We for the moment have enough challenges to come to a sustainable world without the need on a next gen danger.

All digital automation is doing is making people dumber and lazier since even the simplest of tasks can be automated already. Next is that a simple programmed machine indeed will be smarter then man .... ;O))

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Phil Friedman 7/12/2017 · #16

#15 I agree, Franci, that it is unfortunate. All one has to do is try resolving some customer service issue with one of the vaunted Chatbots and one quickly learns that AI is still pretty unintelligent. AI is now being defined by its Prophets as something different from Artificial Intelligence precisely because AI is failing to live up to all the hype spread over the last decade two about artificial intelligence. Cheers!


Phil, I think it is unfortunate people believe AI is superior to the human brain. People will become too dependent on AI and won't be able to do anything on their own. :)

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Phil Friedman 6/12/2017 · #14

Yes, I agree, Debasish , the human brain is light years ahead of the binary machine brain in many ways. Especially in its ability to skip intermediare sreps and get to an answer sooner.

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Debasish Majumder 6/12/2017 · #13

nice insight @Phil Friedman! i wonder whether A.I having any thing to do with our reflections. how a machine can evaluate when out of the reflection of the external world our sensation eventually enable us to reach to a corollary which virtually navigate us t o progress? it is human brain which is supreme and there is perhaps no need to be intimidated about A.I.

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