We’ve all seen at least one movie that features artificial intelligence, usually in the form of humanoid robots, taking over the world after being given too much power and gaining too much intelligence. I, Robot, The Matrix, The Machine, Uncanny, and many more popular films all follow similar plotlines, in which man-made AI turn on their creators, often after humans have come to rely on them too much.
Is this an inevitable turn of events in our future, as these screenwriters and filmmakers often suggest? Or does AI present more subtle, less dramatic threats that we rarely think about?
Although the prospect of humanoid robots has always fascinated people, and while real-world versions of them such as NASA’s Valkyrie and Honda’s ASIMO always garner plenty of media attention, they are not the type of AI that is actually becoming prevalent in our world. Many industries, from manufacturing and pharmaceuticals to telecommunications and marketing, are increasingly relying on AI solutions to handle different parts of their businesses. AI can now add products to retailers’ catalogs, test the quality of manufactured products, identify ideal subjects for drug trials, and come up with the best ways to decrease employee attrition across industries. But these AI solutions aren’t humanoid robots sitting in desk chairs! They’re analytical models designed and built to address specific business needs and challenges. They exist behind computer screens and dashboards, not as semi-sentient automatons.
Our AI might be less visible and less uncanny that it appears in the movie theater, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hurt us. We still need to worry about AI. Rather than fearing that AI might overtake us in intelligence and stage a revolt, we should be afraid that our AI is making too many mistakes. One lesson we can learn from Hollywood is that we really may be expecting too much from generic AI solutions and giving them too much unchecked power, setting them running and then expecting them to perform for us at high accuracy and precision indefinitely.
AI is so widely available at this point that it’s tempting to purchase and implement an inexpensive, great-sounding solution that promises to solve our unique business problems. However, a generic AI solution that has not been customized to a particular company’s needs—size, growth goals, revenue goals, industry, task, and so much more—can never be expected to achieve the precision that the enterprise hopes for when they switch from a manual to an automated solution. AI promises to cut the amount of money companies must spend on manpower while increasing the speed and precision of the task at hand. But without expert customization, AI solutions cannot achieve better-than-human accuracy, and the entire purpose of implementing AI is defeated.
Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end with just customizing a solution, implementing it and simply walking away! Many businesses also expect their AI to grow, adapt, and gain intelligence independently just like it does on TV! Unfortunately, most modern AI isn’t quite that smart. Although a custom AI solution can start off achieving better-than-human accuracy, that accuracy is based on the data that the solution is tuned to, not on human-level abilities to learn from experience. As relevant data develops and changes, AI needs to be tuned to the information available. Without monitoring and tuning, artificial intelligence solutions lose their accuracy and begin making mistakes, even if they were customized and precise to begin with. Eventually, your AI could be making more mistakes than a human doing the same task, once more defeating the purpose of an artificial intelligence solution.
And of course, your AI has no way of telling you that it’s making mistakes, whether due to its generic nature or due to its lack of expert tuning. Without careful performance monitoring, businesses can see significant problems with their AI’s effectiveness, and subsequent declines in accuracy and precision, before they can notice and act to fix the problem.
Luckily, there are ways to get AI solutions that are custom-made to solve each enterprise’s unique problems and to keep them tuned and precise for long-term success. CrowdANALYTIX plans, creates, implements, and monitors AI and automation solutions for long-term profitability, accuracy, and efficiency. When AI is customized and monitored, there’s no reason to fear it at all.