Why artificial intelligence is different from previous technology waves

Robbie Allen, Oreilly, Jun 30, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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When Robbie Allen says 'we' here he doesn't mean me. Still, there is truth to what he says: "We went from a general disbelief in software being able to automate things that were strictly in the domain of humans to every startup having a token AI slide in their pitch decks." And of course now the startuips are all AI with a token 'web' or 'user interface' slide in their decks. But what makes AI different, argues Allen, is that it is, first of all, a distributed technology (we don't need to rely on the Facebook or Microsoft of AI), and record, that it has a relatively low entry barrier ("All the tools you need are freely available. The barriers are purely self-driven."). And actually I think that the barrier will become lower still with AI as a service (though that will tend to re-centralize it a bit). 

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