AI is a frequently heard buzzword today, which is not surprising, given the fact that it is the most sophisticated form of technology right now. Artificial intelligence can be described as an amalgam of man and machine. It is a computer system that incorporates human intelligence, allowing it to develop and improve over time. AI is a complex and affluent technology that is gradually making its way into every big industry. Many people confuse AI with simple automation because they are unaware of its entirety and they are being deceived by numerous companies guilty of AI Washing.
What is AI Washing?
We are all familiar with false marketing where manufacturers create hype for their product by exaggerating its purpose or functionality. They are basically trying to earn profit over something bogus or outdated by placing shiny new labels on it. Let’s face it; only few among us truly know the ins and outs of newfound inventions or technologies. We have heard or understand very little of AI, and the scammers know it.
AI is still on its initial stages of development, so its ultimate potential is not yet known. Most small-scale organizations that claim to have incorporated AI in their products cannot even afford it; not to mention, they do not have the required experts on their team. Corporations need highly skilled AI engineers, developers, and data scientists to work with such stupendous and composite technology.
Therefore, AI washing is strategic propaganda used by tech brands to capitalize on merchandise whose connection to artificial intelligence is non-existent or unsubstantiated at best. It is a mere publicity stunt, exactly like ‘green washing’, where industrialists lied about switching to sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices to improve their public image.
Identifying Fake AI
AI is a multi-faceted technology, composed of machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and various other elements. AI relies on massive quantities of algorithms, models, patterns, and data sets to function independently. The ability to learn and grow makes it unpredictable, unlike automated machinery that is designed to complete predefined tasks that lack any level of creativity. If the performance of an equipment does not get better or versatile over time, that’s one way to confirm that it’s plain automation.
AI is extremely flexible and smart, thus it does not need to be employed for carrying out controlled or monotonous tasks. Any machine or equipment that has a limited functionality is not a form of artificial intelligence; it simply delivers what it is programmed for, so its actions will never deviate. Simple automation works upon stipulated rules and instructions, whereas AI has a mind of its own.
If you suspect that a company is AI washing their products, you can uncover their lies by being curious. A few simple questions about their so-called artificial intelligence technology will reveal their farce. Here are a few sample questions to get them talking or sweating out their nerves:
- What form of AI does your product offer?
- What is the exact role of AI in this product?
- Can I expect this item to display advanced capabilities over time?
- Who is the mastermind behind this and what else are they working on?
If the marketing spokesperson responds vaguely or their answers are unavailing, you know it’s a scam. Anyone who has worked closely with AI or is employed by a company that has invested in this sophisticated computer technology should be aware of these details. If you know more than AI than they do, you shouldn’t think twice before accusing them of AI washing.
Why is AI Washing a Thing?
One may wonder what tech manufacturers get out of the AI propaganda and stretched out lies? Their target audience obviously has nothing more than a vague idea of the whole concept, so it’s not like they couldn’t be impressed by a simpler and honest description. Why go through all the trouble to construct and sell a lie? Perhaps fraud and fabrication have become the law of consumerism, or people prefer fiction over reality. While all of that is more or less true, the publicity surrounding fake artificial intelligence has more to do with buzzwords and competition.
More than one million tech startups are launched every year worldwide; hence, the struggle is real. One of the more prominent names in the industry starts talking about incorporating AI in future gadgets, and suddenly everyone else will follow because they cannot afford to be left behind. When a tech startup claims that they have AI, it becomes easier to snag investors and promoters. The bottom line is: fake it till you make it! Most of these newly found tech brands that brag about AI technology do not have the resources or skill to implement it.
What About Real AI?
Now you probably view AI washing as a strategy to create hype, which is utilized by startups who are barely acknowledged in the market place, but that’s where you are wrong; even Silicon Valley has taken part in this treachery. The Silicon Valley has been infiltrated by imposters who put on a show of advanced AI systems. What we don’t see are the people who work behind the curtains, while all the credit is bestowed upon artificial intelligence that does not exist. Silicon Valley should be loaded with money, so why don’t they bring on the real deal?
AI is too much of a complex technology that needs excessive training hours to mimic human behavior. The AI that has already gone through extensive algorithms to train still falls short in operation; it does not perform so well on its own, i.e. it needs human input or validation to bring something worthwhile to the table. The media has already fed us with extremely high expectations regarding AI, and the leading tech corporations feel obligated to not disappoint.
The scope of artificial intelligence has expanded exponentially in the last decade, but it still far from exhibiting the cognitive abilities of a human being. A computer cannot replace your doctor, a criminal defense attorney, or even your child’s babysitter. Only time will tell that how far AI goes and what it accomplishes. For now, it is safe to say that human beings are still the superior species on earth and won’t be replaced by robots any time soon.