Thursday, July 20, 2017

When a machine out-thinks you - Garry Kasparov's surprising optimism over Artificial Intelligence

The general commentary (and there's lots of it) on artificial (machine) intelligence is just that, 'general,' abstract, hypothetical.

We don't often hear from para-legals who lost their jobs to pattern matching algorithms, or clerks who are no longer needed with accounting software like Xero around.

Think of what it would be like to sit face-to-'face' with a machine and have it beat you at chess.  That's what Garry Kasparov did. He's the Chess Grandmaster who famously faced IBM's Deep Blue computer ... and lost.  Well, actually, as he points out, he actually did win earlier matches, and one match in the final attempt, but that wouldn't be news.

So, you might think Kasparov would be bitter or disparaging of the capabilities of machine intelligence.  Or, quick to point out its limitations.  But he's not.  In fact, his TED Talk on the story of losing to AI is intelligent (of course), but also entertaining (witty), and more importantly to the conversation and debate about how humans can and should respond to the rise and rise of machine (artificial) intelligence, Kasparov's perspective is deeply inspirational about what humans can and should always do, with or without other forms of intelligence.

Watch his 15-minute talk and enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Simon Sinek on Millennials as connective addicts

Simon Sinek, whose masterful TED Talks and books on motivation are legendary, has come out with a bold and rather brash assessment of Millenials in the workplace.  He bases their attitudes on growing up with adults hovering over them, giving them rapid and almost constant (often unwarranted) praise and promising them control of their world.  Except it doesn't really work out that way when they get their first jobs.

Importantly, in this video interview, Sinek also describes these digital natives as 'addicts' to connective media.  Addiction--as compared to just bad habits or social norms--is based on chemical reactions in the brain, which come from instant gratification from checking social media.  The addict eventually can't stop looking at their screens.

While there is risk in over-generalising generations, and some evidence that young people's reaction to media is explained more from being young than any other significant difference from other generations (which means they will change their behaviours over time), Sinek's commentary raises some serious questions about personal habits, control and connectivity.