Are there any silly things being done with AI?

08 October 2019

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Question

Are there any silly things being done with AI?

Answer

Beth Singler has some answers to this question from Suzanne...

Beth - Yeah, I think the silliest area for artificial intelligence is usually in robotics, where you get a physical form that can be doing a task that might be inherently silly. I mean that's debatable, what’s silly or not silly. But I think it's really interesting how many spaces robots are being introduced to that they aren’t utterly in. So I just saw a story about a robot golf caddy; so it can use its systems, its machine vision to follow you around and make suggestions on which golf club… I mean, what's wrong with a human caddy? And golfing might be intrinsically silly in itself. But I think examples like that, where you get a restaurant full of robots, there's a few of those around; there's a robot hotel I went to in Tokyo, if you heard about this at all, you may already know this; but the concierge, when you come to sign in, the robot there is a dinosaur - a velociraptor in a waistcoat and a hat. And that's fairly silly.

Adam - That's my new favorite hotel. I love it.

Beth - You should go! But actually one of the interesting things about the silliest examples of AI is how often they aren't actually AI. So in talking to the people at the hotel, often the reactions that the robot is doing to kids and so forth, and scaring them, is someone in the back room with a button pressing it every time a kid gets close. And likewise, some of the silliest examples of AI-generated text - where someone online says, “look, I fed an artificial intelligence machine learning system a hundred hours of olive garden adverts, and this is what came out,” and you read it, and you’re like, “this is absurd, this is silly, but it makes coherent sense still while being silly” - it’s just written by human who wants to parody AI.

Adam - That really pulls the rug out from under the dreams I had.

Beth - Most common uses of AI people know about have humans in the loop at some point, still writing the stuff that's really difficult to write, or reacting to things are difficult to react to.

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