We enter this decade with some very exciting momentum (and a few flops) in tech.  Some of our readers may well remember Galaxy Phones bursting into flames, Google Hangouts with no friends, a confusing Windows 8 and the Facebook Phone that made the Blackberry look good.  But behind all of the not-very-good-ideas there have been some real advances in technology that we are only just starting to understand.  Aside from the very real advances into developing engineering solutions to physical systems, we can look to some the newer AI and machine learning solutions to see what the near future may hold in store. So with the caveat that I don’t have a crystal ball and hoping that our readers only remember our success here are a few ideas to consider for 2020.

 

Death by Smart Car

The leaps and bounds in autonomous vehicle hype have reached new bounds.  We recently saw a pitch four.  We might expect dark curtain manufacturers to have a boom as these are developed.  However, given the real problems in sensor technology and the amount of test data available for regulators to parse, we think that the next death of someone hit by an autonomous vehicle will lead to a big reversal of momentum as the public grows wary the regulators come under pressure to produce cautiously.  Please don’t write to us about how much safer autonomous vehicles may be.  We are dealing with human emotion.

 

Deep Fakes Funnel Money to Disney

The recent advances in neural network architecture and the superb GPUs like NVIDIA GTX 1080, have meant relatively fast training to create good-enough deep fakes.  One only need to watch the most recent Star Wars movie to see this in action.  The hardware and architecture will continual to evolve as the economic demand increases resulting the in realization by many executives that they can create perfect actors and actresses who never age and never need to be paid a dime.  Added bonus – no scandals!  This will lead to competition among the content creators for ever greater access to deep fakes.  Will there be bad actors?   As long as there are human beings this is a certainty.

 

Facebook Failure (again)

As the audience for Facebook continues to age, the pressure for Facebook and other social media plays will be to diversify overseas and to reach for younger customers.  Younger consumers have mostly decided that social media is best consumed as either a passive activity such as watching silly cat videos or a communal event such as playing video game.  No more curated home pages.  Video games are also taking advantage of the newer GPUs and the advances in personalized content and faster

 

Assistants will be Fired.  Then rehired.

The hype around chatbots and virtual assistants is charging ahead due to the advances in NLP.  We are big fans of BERT in particular, but really any of the newer architectures are fantastic.  But the reality of what can be accomplished is yet to be clearly defined in new products.  The use of NLP will not be like conversing with a human being. It is doubtful machines will every learn to converse.  As disappointment sets in the use of assistants and chatbots will stagnate.  Until, miraculously, the chatbots will be rehired to do the one function they are good at – directing your query to the appropriate channel.  NLP chatbots are excellent traffic cops, directing your queries to where they can be most efficiently answered.

 

Lives Saved

The stealth (well for most of the world) application of AI has been in visual matching.  Despite the attempts to use visual matching to help assist armies and to deliver better shopping experiences the real stunning discovery has been the ability of AI to take a relatively homogenous set of images (such as X-rays of lungs) and find the minor discrepancies.  This has led to stunning advances in detection of disease in human beings.  We believe there will be greater and louder announcements of a lives saved due to AI.

 

China will help Advance the World

Chinas use of AI in security and biometric identification has but many people on notice.  Because of China’s focus on safety and its harnessing of huge computing power to look through large data sets to identify what is undesirable, brands and will begin to demand greater safety of ad delivery.  The mantra of if-China-can-do-it will lead to greater calls for detection of “deep fakes” and the use of AI to discover counterfeit products and fake reviews online.

 

Summary

Robots are probably not going to take over the world this year, but there are some exciting trends and developments in the AI. In our next post we will explore what ANI is and how it is used today. 

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