AI isn't the answer

I was speaking at a global economic summit in Florida last week on the future of transportation.

It was going to be a treat to get out of the grips of a long Canadian winter. That was until I was redirected to Bismarck, North Dakota. 

The snow had taken hold of almost every airport I had to fly through, so all the spare time I had planned was taken up waiting in Bismarck, and then Chicago, another unscheduled stop, instead of reading by a luxurious swimming pool. 

I was curious as to who made the decision to land in Bismarck and not take off again.

At the economic summit, I was on a panel of speakers talking about transportation. The questions soon turned to autonomous vehicles, my favourite pet peeve.

Thankfully, my colleagues on the panel agreed with me (since I had the uncomfortable pleasure of speaking first) that we are a long way from autonomy on the roads.

Artificial intelligence may be able to assist in a lot of things, but so far has not found a solution for many driving environments and circumstances.

Even scarier is the phase where we have normal vehicles and autonomous vehicles on the road at the same time.

Similarly, electric flying cars are about as close to us as the moon from the simple fact that the battery technology does not exist to support manned flight in a drone for any meaningful amount of time.

The conversation was deflected by a comment I made about my perception that the bigger question has to do with data privacy or cyber security.

Almost every new vehicle, many appliances, your house, your Amazon, Google or Apple smart helper “thingy” use IOT technology or “internet of things.”

While it seems like we may be getting closer to artificial intelligence with such devices that can do everything except make a decent cup of tea, the truth is quite different. 

The data these devices are collecting, and assimilating daily is extremely scary. What seems convenient to you is like gold mining for many unscrupulous businesses.

Take the recent testimony to congress by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. What turned in to something of a circus was enough to let us all know that your data is not protected.

I am frankly not sure who is driving this desire to do less work and have AI replace us. 

If you turn a car into an autonomous vehicle, you just have a very expensive office when you could have been sitting at home doing a Skype call instead.

Put AI in to your life and we are told the “thingy” will be able to paint amazing art and write the best music in the world.

But what we like about art is the backstory. It doesn’t have to be the best — it is a representation of a point in time in somebody’s life. It has — the fundamental missing attribute in AI.

That is what is important. 

I am going to stick to my vehicles with no connection to the outside world, I am going to live in a dumb home where I have to walk and turn lights on and off with a very old-fashioned switch.

My refrigerator has no clue what I put in it and what I take from it and I don’t need an electronic assistant to do my shopping online, find the answer to “who is Jesus” or anything else for that matter.

I enjoy having to work a little.

Then again, if AI had looked at my airplane routing and the anticipated delay, it probably would have found a solution and got me to my destination quicker — ho hum.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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