Aug 3 2017

How to Embrace Artificial Intelligence (and not get crushed!)


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I remember when, many years ago, the famous Italian author and philosopher Umberto Eco gave a lecture at the Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò - New York University (NYU) regarding the history of language and data collection. He eloquently laid out the seemingly simple and natural path of media evolution: from the keeping of information through oral tradition to stories, messages and laws being carved into stone, or engraved in wood; followed by the invention of paper, the advent of printing press, movable types, typewriters, automated linotyping, computers, magnetic media and lastly, optical media and a World Wide Web containing such information similes in ever increasing volumes.

In an indirect nod to Marshall MacLuhan and his maxim “the medium is the message”, Eco reminded the audience that the prevailing theme through History was that people believed the old ways would be completely obliterated and the message content in those older forms of media would be lost whenever a new medium arrived. The “this will replace that” notion was as persistent before as it is now. But in reality the new arrival would not entirely replace the previous technologies; instead it would complement and enhance the task of collecting and propagating data.

So forwarding the clock to now, we find ourselves in the beginning of the late stages of our so-called Digital Revolution. Machines have been greatly upgraded, thanks to breakthroughs in physics and engineering of materials, which have allowed components to grow ever smaller while machines became faster. And as a consequence, also better able to handle higher levels of abstraction and greater volumes of data stored to be processed by high-level languages. The paradigm shift is evident. We now talk about Big Data Analysis as the new frontier in this current state of affairs. That is being applied now to demographic data used in medical care, market analysis, the evolution of languages, logistics, opinion polling, just to name a few uses.

And then there’s the issue of Machine Learning, a growing branch of Artificial Intelligence, in which powerful algorithms enable machines to correct how they behave when facing problems and continuously seek better solutions for the proposed questions. Remember when Big Blue defeated Garry Kasparov? People feared the “Rise of the Machines” and understandably so. Then much more recently, Google developed an algorithm to play “Go” that is practically invincible (a lofty target to prove considering that there are probably more game combinations of Go than the number of atoms in the universe). But we should take all that with a grain of salt. It is natural for humans to keep improving what we do and our machines don’t escape that tendency. It didn’t take long until the poorest performing cars made could beat any sprint or marathon runner. Or, we can easily observe that any forklift will outperform the world’s strongest weight lifters. And so on. We should embrace fully our capacity to build on previous knowledge while not losing sight of our ethical considerations. Everything else is merely a question of scale.

The marriage between the practical resources from Machine Learning and Big Data Analysis will unleash new fields of study and ranges of knowledge never imagined before. Though as in every beginning, there are growing pains. We are now more than ever able to collect vast amounts of data but our ability to process and understand such data is still limited. This is where Tenex comes in. We are fully dedicated to creating powerful and simple solutions for today’s most challenging issues. Our client track record is a growing testimony of our abilities and capacity to help you face the future with confidence. As one strong example, we can use DOMO to turn your data blocks into valuable Business Intelligence entities that will reinforce confidence in your clients, while instilling a great sense of accomplishment in your own staff.

Tenex is up to the call and ready to assist you in embracing this exciting new world of seemingly endless possibilities and great promises. Give us a call, or send us a message, and we will be pleased to learn about your vision and show you how we can help you be the hero to your customers.