This morning, some of the most powerful and intelligent companies in the world—Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft—announced a watershed partnership to oversee the development of Artificial Intelligence technology.
Metadata has become the Holy Grail for technology companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google. By tracking our every click, purchase, query, and preference, they have collected invaluable market intelligence and priceless knowledge about consumer preferences, psychographics, and purchasing patterns. With this metadata, these large technology companies can not only predict where the market is heading, but, like Apple with the iPhone, how to create new markets that never before existed.
The collection and application of this metadata is about to get a lot more sophisticated. With the recent announcement made by Facebook, Amazon, Google, IBM, and Microsoft revealing a coalition that will oversee the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, the world has shifted in a not so subtle way that will undoubtedly shape our future.
AI-based products are already on the market, including Amazon’s Alexa interactive voice-control platform and Google’s Nest learning thermostat. Soon, AI will be the driver for all of the technologies in our homes, buildings, communities, and cities.
With today’s announcement, the tech behemoths are essentially saying that they have the knowledge, power, and wherewithal to self-govern the parameters of artificial intelligence. The new partnership will conduct research, develop best practices, and explore ethical concerns to determine and control the future of AI technology—the stuff of which unimaginable apocalyptic movies have been made, in which uncontrollable machines threaten mankind (alluded to in an astute comment made by Francesca Rossi, an AI ethics researcher at IBM, “For society at-large to get the benefits of AI, we first have to trust it.”)
The long and the short of it—if the coalition is successful in establishing acceptable boundaries for AI, every product, gadget, and gizmo that we interact with will contribute to the development of a more intelligent future. And I can’t help but wonder: should be afraid or ecstatic?
What do you think about the concept of Artificial Intelligence? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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