MIT's McAfee: Smart Machines Pick up the Pace


Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee

You and your peers in the tech field might be a little surprised and more than a bit overwhelmed by the speed with which machine intelligence is outperforming humans. Don't feel bad, even the experts who write the books are feeling stunned by the rate and scale of tech change.

Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at MIT and author of four books on smart machines, told an Interop ITX audience that he keeps getting it wrong in predicting how quickly machine learning is advancing. Plus, he doesn't feel so bad either, because so many other experts who write books have been just as wrong.

"We're still underestimating how big the change is," he told about 1,000 attendees during an Interop ITX keynote address.

McAfee highlighted the pace of change by tracing through four primary examples of where machines unexpectedly have outperformed humans in recent years: Wine, data center management, poker, and a 3,000 year old game.

His keynote was titled Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing the Digital Revolution, which is the same title of his new book, coming in June, which he co-authored with Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

[Read Jim Connolly's full article at InformationWeek]

James M. Connolly, Editor of All Analytics

Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than two decades. As editor of All Analytics he writes about the move to big data analytics and data-driven decision making. Over the years he has covered enterprise computing, the PC revolution, client/server, the evolution of the Internet, the rise of web-based business, and IT management. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. Throughout his tech journalism career, he has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through publications including Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups and the Boston-area venture capital sector at MassHighTech. A former crime reporter for the Boston Herald, he majored in journalism at Northeastern University.

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Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/5/2017 5:51:09 PM
NO RATINGS

..

Kq4ym writes

Sometimes I think the lack of truth telling or making up stuff on the fly is not so much a conscious effort to deceive as it is a lack of willingness to listen to others. If one can't listen to another's point of view, or listen to statements by others recognized or not as specialists or experts without immediate judgement of those views, it will be very difficult to come to a complete understanding of what the truth of the matter might really be.

From what I've been reading, a fundamental problem with Trump is that he actually isolates himself from the views of others, even from his own staff. He's now in trouble for admitting on national TV that he'd already made up his mind to fire James Comey as FBI head before even ordering the "recommendation" from his own Department of Justice. In other words, it seems that "he don't listen to nobody" to make some of his key decisions.

That's one unprecedented thing about about Trump. Another is the use of Twitter to issue "storms" of de facto presidential policy statements. According to today's Huffington Post this has led one emterprising "technologist, coder and activist" to create a bot that convert's Trump's Twitter statements into formatted official-looking Presidential statements.

..

Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/5/2017 10:08:04 AM
NO RATINGS

Sometimes I think the lack of truth telling or making up stuff on the fly is not so much a conscious effort to deceive as it is a lack of willingness to listen to others. If one can't listen to another's point of view, or listen to statements by others recognized or not as specialists or experts without immediate judgement of those views, it will be very difficult to come to a complete understanding of what the truth of the matter might really be.

Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/4/2017 5:51:17 PM
NO RATINGS

..

Predictable writes that ...

... our top political leaders do need to watch what they say. At the same time, it is clear that none of them can avoid all misstatements during their terms.

There's an enormous difference between occasional "misstatements" and aggressive lying and distortion, not to speak of direct attacks on freedom of the press.

I've also raised concern about the climate of disdain for credibility, truth, and factual correctness that Trump and his surrogates have uniquely created. This surely cannot be helpful to businesses and public institutions that depend on an internal environment of trust, transparency, reliability, and truthfulness among their own personnel.

..

Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/3/2017 5:25:07 PM
NO RATINGS

@Ariella - yes, our top political leaders do need to watch what they say. At the same time, it is clear that none of them can avoid all misstatements during their terms.

Trump tweeted covfefe.

Obama said he'd been to 57 states.

We should be happy to know they're both human and not waste too much time on this nonsense.

Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/2/2017 5:48:48 PM
NO RATINGS

@PC It's a double-edged sword. There's so much talk about appreciating "authenticity" today. But really politicians can't just say whatever comes to mind without thinking through the ramifications.

Re: USA's greatest problem?
  • 6/2/2017 4:39:16 PM
NO RATINGS

I guess it just can't be helped.

Re: The singularity is closer
  • 6/2/2017 4:39:14 PM
NO RATINGS

...because non-politician tweets are so much better? ;)

The problem people have with certain people's Tweets might fundamentally be about Twitter itself. Just sayin'.

Re: USA's greatest problem?
  • 6/2/2017 4:35:11 PM
NO RATINGS

@tomsg: And just like that, the conversation about *artificial* intelligence got pretty meta. ;)

Re: USA's greatest problem?
  • 6/2/2017 8:50:11 AM
NO RATINGS

I agree , but it seems there is a shortage of intelligence of any kind- machine or human.

USA's greatest problem?
  • 6/2/2017 7:06:37 AM
NO RATINGS

..

In his blog post, Jim writes that Andrew McAfee ...

... discussed what could go wrong as machines become smarter, and concluded that the greatest problem is with HiPPOs. Not the bulbous beasts but relying on the "Highest Paid Person's Opinion." That would be the boss of the highly experienced professional who takes in data from a geek and says that he or she will consider the data and also consider their personal experience and gut feel before "pronouncing" what the company should do.

Gee, that sounds familiar. It immediately brought my thoughts over to the Big Kahuna that occupies the White House in 2017 ...

 

 

 

 

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