5 Common Misconceptions About Artificial Intelligence

Article by Meiryum Ali | June 10, 2019

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has evolved into one of the hottest topics for discussion. However, while AI is getting an increasing amount of attention as its applications and capabilities grow, there are still many misconceptions about what AI is and what it can do.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs are often confused about what AI can do for their enterprise, which is understandable, as there are so many definitions and variants of AI in the news and media. With AI technology making its way into the organization, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of where AI can create value of your business, and where it cannot.


5 Common Misconceptions about Artificial Intelligence

1. ‘AI doesn’t need humans’

AI-based systems remain dependent on humans. In fact, most of their learning comes from data gathered about humans performing those activities. AI systems remain extremely narrow and focus primarily on rules and repetition, such as gaming, or answering questions in social media chats.


2. ‘AI is dangerous’

Machine learning models are not inherently ‘dangerous’. In fact, they possess the same level of danger as any other technology already present in our lives. Most AI-systems can still only follow instructions, such as solving a specific problem or analyzing historical data to identify the optimal strategy for engaging target audiences.


3. ‘AI has reached its peak stage’

According to Professor Gary Marcus at NYU: “I think the biggest misconception around AI is that people think we’re close to it. We’re not anywhere near that. We’ve learned to engineer certain narrow problems like speech recognition very well. We’ve done that in ways that we couldn’t have imagined five or ten years ago. But the idea of having machines that can reason about the world in the ways that human beings can … I don’t think we’ve made any significant progress in that at all. Humans can be super flexible – they can learn something in one context and apply it in another.”


4. ‘AI will take away jobs’

Actually, it is estimated that just 8% of companies plan on using AI-based systems to fill roles. AI is actually more likely to create new jobs, as it frees humans up to design and develop new products and business. In reality, technological change has always historically initially diminished and then boosted employment by enabling new industries and sectors to emerge.


5. ‘I will always be able to spot between AI and humans’

This might be the most mind-blowing misconception in this list. AI is already being used to write financial news, sports stories and weather reports. Even the Associated Press and The Washington Post use it. More impressively (or worryingly, depending on how you look at things), AI is also producing “deep fake” videos that feature computer-generated faces that some people think are real.


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