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Enterprise hits and misses - AI adoption gets debated, crypto gets an FTX shakeup, and event season rolls on

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed November 14, 2022
This week - responsible AI gets an Intel boost, but where are we with ethics versus adoption? Crypto grabs tech headlines for the wrong reasons - bad times at FTX. Event season rolls on - diginomica has your news and views. Whiffs are easy thanks to Twitter.


Lead story - we need responsible AI, but does AI have an adoption problem?

I was surprised by the title of Chris' latest, AI’s ‘long tail’ is preventing mature adoption, says Andrew Ng.

I don't see AI as having an adoption problem - Ai has the opposite problem: governance, ethics, and proper design lag far behind AI adoption, generating an exhaust fume of concerning news headlines. But Ng, who was speaking at  Bosch ConnectedWorld 2022, knows his stuff. So what's Ng's position? Chris quotes Ng:

I think the biggest potential of AI still lies ahead of us, to use it for all the other industries other than just consumer software and internet. Everything from retail, travel, transportation and logistics, automotive and assembly, and many, many more.

But candidly, when I walk around everywhere from factories to hospitals, they just seek mentors. I think the adoption of AI in all of these industries is still very nascent. A study by McKinsey estimated $13 trillion worth of value annual value by 2030. But I think there's still a lot of work ahead of us to create that value. AI cannot reach its full potential until it's accessible to everyone.

Ng says the most commercially successful AI adoptions are online ads and search, by a wide margin - and they benefit from huge data sets. Ng sees a solution: open source AI tools, powering a "data-centric AI" that will, in his view, "democratize" AI projects. Chris quotes Ng again:

The key thing about this journey to democratize access to AI is to not just let the $100 million or billion-dollar systems get built, but to let all of these $1-5 billion projects in the tail get built.

With data-centric AI, it’s about providing training to more people, but to subject matter experts rather than to machine learning engineers.

Ng is probably right about the need to democratize AI, and make AI development feasible for smaller teams and projects. But we shouldn't minimize the amount of concerning AI adoption already in play: most notably, on social media algorithms that influence elections. But I'd add AI medicine, insurance and HR screening tools. This doesn't necessarily conflict with Ng's views - only with what was quoted from this particular event. Chris concludes, rightly, that it makes sense for companies to avoid recreating the AI wheel, "when what’s needed is more data about the wheel itself."

Intel seems to be in tune with my concerns, via Mark Chillingworth's latest, Intel takes responsibility for AI. Mark writes:

Lama Nachman, Intel Fellow and Director of Intelligent Systems Research Lab at Intel Labs, led the development of the Responsible AI charter and says:

'We see the unbelievable potential of AI. AI is really transforming what we are able to do in drug discovery and climate change, for example. However, if you don’t address the risks of AI, then you are not enabling the potential.'

Intel's "responsible AI" push posits that what is threatening about AI is not Hollywood-style Terminator storylines, but comparatively "banal" scenarios, similar to the ones I listed above (though if "AI" rejects you from a housing loan, it's certainly not a banal experience for you):

These science fiction scenarios can distract us from the very real but more banal ways in which poorly designed AI systems can harm people.

Indeed. On the other hand, the pitfalls of AI ethics are plenty - and platitudes are easy. I'll get back to that...

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Vendors aren't done with us yet, as fall events roll on:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Jon's grab bag - Barb examined the changing world of the so-called B2B influencer in Influencer Marketing - first, catch your influencer... I'm encouraged by the shift away from follower count obsessions, in favor of customer influence, but I think this conversation needs more emphasis on transparency and disclosure, something that has come, albeit reluctantly, into B2C influencer practices. Meanwhile, if you'll recall that AI ethics teaser, Neil dismantled the AI ethics platitudes in It's time for AI ethics to get real.

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top seven

Overworked businessman


Twitter's already-infamous blue-checkmarks-for-sale plan garnered loads of well-earned satire. I'm partial to this one:

Another week, another goofy AI writing tool getting overhyped:

Oh, and as for my barbs about AI being overly-adopted without proper design: via Clive Boulton, KFC is next up on the sorry-about-our-culturally-insensitive-AI-in-production apology tour. See you next time...

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

Image credit - Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Businessman Choosing Success or Failure Road © Creativa- all from Adobe Stock.

Disclosure - Oracle, Workday, Celonis, Sage and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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