Machine Learning & AI – Controversial Or The Holy Grail?

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We’re all doomed! They’re coming to get us! Let’s start with a potentially tumultuous topic for this post shall we? Ever since  our minds were set alight by James Cameron’s genocidal Skynet AI from the Terminator franchise and Stanley Kubrick’s homicidal HAL 9000 from the cult 2001: A Space Odyssey,humanity has been infatuated with the idea of AI’s and what they could do for us… or is it rather to us?

The film industry has largely portrayed AI’s in film and series as mostly having some kind of negative outcome for humanity in one way or another. Recently in the media we’ve had some big names weighing in on the dangers of AI and how we should be careful with them.

People like Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates, Professor Stephen Hawking and even our very own Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX CEO) have been among the chorus speaking for and against AI’s drawing the proverbial line in the sand. It hasn’t stopped there… in fact, academics, other tech industry giants and even religious leaders have all weighed in on the dangers and benefits of AI.

It’s a pretty bigdeal if you think about it. We are on the verge of a technological singularity – it is estimated that within the next 20 years AI’s will be smarter than we are. This presents humanity with some very real challenges and existential questions.

Okay, so genocidal AI’s re-developing themselves to build smarter, faster, better versions,  thus committing humanity to the halls of extinction, right?


No, not at all … when one considers what IBM have been doing since the 1990’s with their Deep Blue Supercomputer beating Chess Master Garry Kasparov, and more recently their Watson Supercomputer being used to beat human opponents at Jeopardy. We are hurtling ever faster to a future where computers may very well be taking human decision-making processes out of the equation or at the very least helping us make better decisions.

In a world of data, analysis and automation, the goal of having advanced AI’s to analyse our monstrous volumes of data, that are increasingly becoming more difficult for us to manage, will become more necessary.

Tech giants Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Google all have the beginnings of AI’s operating to help us (and them) make our lives easier. Part of AI is a concept known as Machine Learning – the more recent buzzword in big data. It has some massive advantages, especially where enormous datasets are concerned. Imagine being able to simply ask a computer a question and an AI is able to understand natural human speech, translate that into a query and return the results you are specifically looking for.

This has application across virtually all industries – our industry (marketing and technology) is no exception. The possibilities are very real and potentially endless!

I believe that managed responsibly, the future is full of promise. Failing that… there’s always an off-switch right?

What are your thoughts on AI and Machine Learning? Let me know in the comments below!

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