Post-Terminator AI: Consumers, Execs Warm Up to Digital Assistants


(Image: Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)

(Image: Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)

Consumer impressions of artificial intelligence used to be influenced mostly by science fiction. Consider HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey, or the villains in the Terminator series of films, or the computers in The Matrix.

It's only more recently that consumers have found themselves knowingly interacting with AI implementations in the real world in the form of digital assistants such as Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, or Google Now or Google Assistant.

That experience has influenced the cultural view of what these technologies can do for us. A newer film depicting a human/AI relationship is Her. In this film the human falls in love with his digital assistant.

That's a huge shift in how we humans view artificial intelligence. We used to be afraid of it. Now we see it as a helper in our lives or even as a friend.

A new report from PwC looks at this relationship between humanity and the AI we are creating and how cultural attitudes have shifted. The report examines consumer attitudes towards AI, and how people feel about having their teachers, cab drivers, attorneys, and doctors, and others replaced by or augmented by artificial intelligence.

This report also looks at how business leaders are viewing AI. For instance, over 70 percent of executives are using digital assistants and about a third of them say that using these assistants frees up time that they can now focus on deep thinking of their own.

It's not just more deep thinking that is being done. These experiences are also informing executive opinion about AI's potential in the rest of the business, too.

AllAnalytics is excited to welcome Anand Rao, Partner at PwC Analytics, Innovation Lead, and Artificial Intelligence expert, to present the June 13 AllAnalytics Academy session: AI Through the Consumer's Eyes. Rao will take us through PwC's research and talk to us about what AI means to the consumer and how that will impact every business going forward.

You'll learn about how consumers feel about AI today, how they expect that to change in the next five years, and what business opportunities there are for organizations in the shifting consumer attitudes towards AI.

Join us at 2 pm ET/11 am PT on Tuesday, June 13 for this important session. Register now.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 10:44:28 PM
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My kids still watch a show on PBS called Wild Kratts. One of the bad guys in the show is a crazy, mean technologist who builds devices using enslaved wild animals. Not the point. What he does have are bots who fly around and do his dirty deeds. Funniest part --- and even my 2 year old can get the jokes --- is that the bots have current level AI capabilities. And whatever the bad guy orders them to do, they do so literally that it usually ends up with him getting a door slammed on his foot, or a robot sitting in his lap crushing him, or some other hilarious end result.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 1:24:23 PM
NO RATINGS

Lyndon thanks for the tip I will have to try it. I would love anything that increases accuracy and revision!

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 10:33:07 AM
NO RATINGS

Now that I think about it, I only use my voice command stuff to ask what an elementary school student might ask, like what's the weather, how far to New York. who is Johnny Carson, etc. Maybe AI folks will need to watch what qustions are being asked to see how smart AI really is. Once it gets to the place where the average user is asking really complex questions and getting accurate answers we'll be in a really useful place with AI.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 9:38:36 AM
NO RATINGS

..

Mayam writes

SANE I constantly play with voice dictation while it is getting better it is still not as fast as my bad typing! It is definitely not as accurate

I use Dragon for a lot of my longer narrative writing, almost always handwritten (remember that?) ... Most of the time Dragon does a fairly accurate job of transcription, but this technology has quite a way to go to rival the capability of a competent human transcriber. Nevertheless, it's extremely useful and I look forward to improvements in VR technology. I do think it will take AI developers quite a while to advance VR to even very minimal levels of processing the daunting range of nuances of human speech.

 

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 8:37:05 AM
NO RATINGS

@SaneIT you mean finidng answers that require knowledge of a lot more contextual information. I suppose it can be done if the AI takes all the surrounding data about the person (say internet searches for flights, online purchases, etc) that indicate changes in location, etc.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/16/2017 8:27:10 AM
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Maybe this is an opportunity for some AI programmer out there.  Instead of trying to address adult interactions through AI they need to work from the level of a 3-5 year old.  Questions like "Do I need an umbrella today?" are more complex than most AIs can address unless they are off gathering information from many sources.  Google assumes I'm asking about rain chances in my current location because it doesn't know if I'm flying across the country.  Since I know if I'm flying I might ask "What is the forecast for Seattle Washington today?".  A 3 year old won't ask that second question so they get an answer that may not be relevant from an AI.  Learning to chain how and why together sounds like a good way to improve bot accuracy.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/15/2017 9:13:55 AM
NO RATINGS

@SaneIT Just yesterday I read James E. Ryan's book Wait, What?: And Life's Other Essential Questions. He starts off talking about the importance of asking questions and a recollection of how much he annoyed his parents with all the "whys" as a kid. He remarks on the fact that Siri and co. are good at answers but not at questions. He did miss out, however, on the perfect connection to 42.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/15/2017 8:08:18 AM
NO RATINGS

Maybe if Alexa had been around when my kids were little and all the "why" questions were asked in a never ending chain I could have had them go ask Alexa but given the difference in responses that I get from Cortana and Google when I type the queries I'm not sure I want to ask an AI the same question out loud 4 ways before I get the information I'm looking for.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/14/2017 12:40:24 PM
NO RATINGS

SANE I constantly play with voice dictation while it is getting better it is still not as fast as my bad typing! It is definitely not as accurate. I do like my Alexa but she is the perfect example of AI she is very linear and not able to go beyond a linear question--trust me my young daughter tries often! Understanding the reality of AI around the hype is key.

Re: AI coming in from the cold?
  • 6/14/2017 11:20:34 AM
NO RATINGS

When I see Alexa I tend to think of Star Trek IV https://youtu.be/xaVgRj2e5_s?t=167

and how comfortable Scotty is starting a conversation with an Apple II.  Then again he uses two fingers and about 30 keystrokes to build models of new molecules so maybe it's just good enough acting because I haven't seen anyone use Siri, Cortana or Alexa with the kind of ease that sci-fi shows us.  My other example would be from Blade Runner where Deckard is using a terminal to inspect a photo.  Although the terminal is a little more kludgy in the way that it functions the more natural language terms like "zoom" and "enhance" give us a lot of hope for where an AI can go.  When we get close to either of these types of interactions then I might jump on the home AI bandwagon but for now I'm still preaching keyboarding classes. 

 

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