Tuesday, January 7, 2020

10web.pt podcast -- João Pedro Martins – AI and Machine Learning in Organizations

Note: refers to a recording done in Portuguese.

Earlier in November I recorded a podcast for 10web.pt (available here) which focused on AI/ML and its impact in society and organizations.

AI/ML in the last few years has undergone a transformation, with both increasing hype but also increasing problems and doubts being raised. Algorithmic discrimination/bias, problems with "bad data", challenges in going live with ML solutions, incoming regulation, discussions on neural networks/connectionist versus/with symbolic approaches (or "neuro-symbolic"), issues raised by face recognition, autonomous robots/warfare, etc. The field is very much in flux, but it's clear to me there's some backlash and more caution and realism are coming to the field.

The good part in what seems to be happening, is that interesting applications are making their way into our lives and organizations, in many areas from industry to science to medicine, and sometimes in "minor" features in things like development tools (VS Code/Studio comes to mind) or Office. Maybe full level 5 autonomous driving is many years away, but the investment will help it progress and find new solutions. While this happens, the Research field (just see the latest NeurIPS) seems to be diverging from Industry -- the former is now tackling other types of problems that are very technical (not in a CompSci sense only, but also Mathematical/Statistical) and in many cases not related to Deep Neural Networks.

Anyway, all this to say that - when I reviewed the recording - I felt the more pessimistic side of what's happening in the industry took more time than the side of the possibilities/real impact the tech is having, which was annoying and doesn't actually reflect my thoughts.

If you understand Portuguese, hear it and let me know what you think.

To close off, a word of thanks to the 10web.pt team for inviting me and doing great work with the podcast!

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