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Artificial Intelligence: Beyond the Hype

by Casandra Laskowski

If you search Google News for artificial intelligence, you will get hundreds of results in just a few weeks span, maybe thousands. If you read some of them, you will find that they do not all talk about the same type of software. Artificial intelligence has become a buzzword to encompass a range of technology not all of which are that intelligent and many of which are not new. Yet as soon as the word is used, people swarm to sing effusive praise, even when the emperor is wearing no clothes. AI has the potential to effect positive change, but we have to be able to recognize the innovative from the superficial. Instead of writing a full post, below are some interesting readings to highlight the issues caused by hype, the different things meant when people say AI, and some of the limitations of our current tech so you can more confidently call out the bare pitch when you encounter it.

Riva-Melissa Tez, Rocket AI: 2016’s Most Notorious AI Launch and the Problem with AI Hype, Medium (Dec 15, 2016).

Jennings Brown, Why Everyone Is Hating on IBM Watson—Including the People Who Helped Make It, Gizmodo (Aug 10, 2017).

Blair Hanley Frank, AI Weekly: Watson, Einstein, and Sensei Must Die (Mar 31, 2018).

Tom Simonite, The Wired Guide to Artificial Intelligence, Wired (Feb 1, 2018).

Matthew Hutson, AI Glossary: Artificial Intelligence, in so Many Words, Science (Jul 7, 2017).

Discussing the Limits of Artificial Intelligence, TechCrunch (Apr 1, 2017)

Douglas Hofstadter, The Shallowness of Google Translate, The Atlantic (Jan 30, 2018).

David Rotman, AI Savants, Recognizing Bias, and Building Machines That Think Like People, Technology Review (Mar 26, 2018).

Copyright 2018 by Casandra Laskowski.

About the author: Casandra Laskowski is a Reference Librarian and Lecturing Fellow at Duke Law. She received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law, and her M.L.I.S. from the University of Arizona. Prior to pursuing her career as a law librarian, she worked as a geospatial analyst in the United States Army and served a fifteen-month tour of duty in Iraq. Her areas of interest include privacy, censorship, and the intersection of national security and individual liberty.