Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Pluralistic: What kind of bubble is AI?

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

"AI is definitely a bubble," writes Cory Doctorow. His evidence? "As I write in the column, if you fly into SFO and rent a car and drive north to San Francisco or south to Silicon Valley, every single billboard is advertising an 'AI' startup..." And "Once the bubble pops (all bubbles pop), AI applications will have to rise or fall on their actual merits, not their promise." So, let's examine this. Let's allow that AI is a bubble (this saves us an exercise in semantics). Is it true that all bubbles pop? Yes, we can name many bubbles that have popped, but let's consider some other technologies that experienced rapid growth, so much so that any 'pop' of the bubble was merely a rounding error. Like, say, the telephone. Cars. Aircraft. Microwave ovens. Computers. I could go on, but you get the idea. We tend to forget the bubbles that didn't pop, because they became fixtures of everyday life. Don't bet on AI - or even the hype about AI - suddently disappearing.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 20, 2024 02:20 a.m.

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