Why artificial intelligence is different from previous technology waves

Robbie Allen, O'Reilly, Jun 30, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

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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