Display portlet menu


Display portlet menu

AGI, artificial general intelligence, the AI bubble and more: Q&A with Toby Walsh

the letters AI on raw digital data background

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Smart Industry Magazine.

We seem to be in the middle of what you could almost call an AI bubble. Countless companies are fnding ways to squeeze “AI” and “machine learning” into their descriptions to gain investment and clients and the Internet is awash with companies offering “smart services” for almost any problem. But AI has been around for quite a while, so what’s all the fuss about?

TW: There are four exponentials that together mean we’re making real progress on the goal of building intelligent machines. First, the doubling every two years or so of compute power, otherwise known as Moore’s Law. Second, there’s a similar doubling in data, which is helping support much of what we do today in AI via machine learning. Of course, the Internet of Things is only going to add to that trend! Third, we’ve had a doubling again every two years or so in the performance of some of our algorithms. Deep learning is a case in point. And the fourth exponential is in the amount of money flowing into the feld. This is also doubling every two years. Put all of these in a pot and you have a recipe for progress.

Are we actually getting ahead of ourselves here, or could we be closer to general machine intelligence than we think?

TW: No, artificial general intelligence, or AGI, is still a long way away; 50 to 100 years, if you ask most of my colleagues, or perhaps even longer. We have only made progress on building narrow intelligence.

There was a time back in the ’80s and 90s where AI was almost a dirty word.

TW: Well, it’s nice to come back into fashion again. There was some overpromise in the ’80s that led to a bit of a backlash. But this time, we’re having a real impact on real problems so I’m not too worried about another AI winter.

Some people say that we have reached a point in the last five years that is akin to the “primordial soup” for AI. If this is the case what are the key ingredients that have allowed AI to thrive?

TW: Compute power, data, and better algorithms!

What for you is the most exciting current development in your field?

TW: It’s hard to pick on one area as AI is having so much impact on so many aspects of our lives. It really will be like electricity in this respect. But if I had to pick one, it would be the impact it is starting to have on health care.

What advice would you have for a manufacturing company looking at injecting some machine intelligence into their operations?

TW: Don’t start too big. Start small. Don’t start on a critical path. Look perhaps to help strategic decision-
making frst before you go into the operational.

Artifcial General Intelligence is still a 100 years away. We have only made progress on building narrow intelligence.

If you could give advice to manufacturing companies on how to approach the three most important aspects of their operations, what would they be?

TW: Business models and market strategy, human vs machine roles and skills, and social corporate responsibility. Take the savings from AI to improve your product or service, not simply to reduce costs. Look to augment not replace people. And where you do replace, look to reskill. And think carefully about the ethics of what you do. AI is powerful magic. It’s easy to encroach on people’s privacies and other basic rights.


Display portlet menu


Display portlet menu
Related Articles
IoT icons overing over a ditigal shape of a head
The rise of machine intelligence in the AI era
February 25, 2019
Whether you know it or not, this technology has a lot of potential to deal with business-specific challenges and the benefits of deep learning outnumber its drawbacks.
interior of autonomous car
The State of Automotive Only Starts with Autonomous Driving
March 6, 2020
Learn how the state of automotive spans a variety of applications, from electrication to in-cabin AI.
man wearing virtual reality headset with graphic overlays
How LoRaWAN and AI at the Edge Revolutionize the IoT
January 3, 2020
Learn how LoRaWAN and artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge can revolutionize the internet of things by reducing data transmission and improving latency.
Person's finger pointing to digital world
Today's case for AI at the edge
May 17, 2019
AI might feel far away, but engineers are innovating everyday. Should you consider edge AI?
polymer microchips attached to circuit board
Increasingly powerful chips driving artificial intelligence
November 13, 2018
AI-supported applications must keep pace with rapidly growing data volumes and often have to respond simultaneously in real time. The classic CPUs that you will find in every computer quickly reach their limits in this area because they process tasks
Edge AI robotic hand using laptop
IoT at the Edge: How AI Will Transform IoT Architecture
By Lou Lutostanski   -   October 26, 2018
Futurists say artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform business and society more profoundly than the industrial and digital revolutions combined, and we’re now starting to see how that world might shape up.
Bill Amelio, Chief Executive Officer, Avnet, Inc.
Learning to utilize the benefits of Artificial Intelligence
May 30, 2018
Learn about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the market opportunities it presents.


Display portlet menu
Related Events

No related Events found