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Top Ten AI Hype Countdown 1: IBM’s Watson Is Not Our New Computer Overlord

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AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Watson won at Jeopardy (with specially chosen “softball” questions) but is not the hoped-for aid to cancer specialists:

Originally, IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in marshalling the flood of new medical information so as to enable better cancer care. Hundreds of medical papers are published each day. No one can read them all. So when a patient has cancer, a physician could tell Watson the details and Watson could dig through the papers and identify the relevant ones. It did not turn out to be that simple, according to STAT News:

…three years after IBM began selling Watson to recommend the best cancer treatments to doctors around the world, a STAT investigation has found that the supercomputer isn’t living up to the lofty expectations IBM created for it. It is still struggling with the basic step of learning about different forms of cancer. Only a few dozen hospitals have adopted the system, which is a long way from IBM’s goal of establishing dominance in a multibillion-dollar market. And at foreign hospitals, physicians complained its advice is biased toward American patients and methods of care.

The failure is not mainly that of AI:

The interviews suggest that IBM, in its rush to bolster flagging revenue, unleashed a product without fully assessing the challenges of deploying it in hospitals globally. While it has emphatically marketed Watson for cancer care, IBM hasn’t published any scientific papers demonstrating how the technology affects physicians and patients. As a result, its flaws are getting exposed on the front lines of care by doctors and researchers who say that the system, while promising in some respects, remains undeveloped. Casey Ross and Ike Swetlitz, “IBM pitched its Watson supercomputer as a revolution in cancer care. It’s nowhere close” at STAT

Then there was the breathless hype journalism, which made it difficult to discuss serious problems in context.

More.

See also: 2018 AI Hype Countdown 2: AI Can Write Novels and Screenplays Better than the Pros! AI help, not hype: It turns out that meaning matters. So. fiction and song writers, please do keep writing. Don’t leave us with just this stuff in 2019.

2018 AI Hype Countdown 3: With Mind-reading AI, You Will Never Have Secrets Again! AI help, not hype: Did you read about the flap they had to cut out of a volunteer’s skull? With so many new developments in AI, the real story is usually far down in the fine print. And not a close match with the headlines.

2018 AI Hype Countdown 4: Making AI Look More Human Makes It More Human-like! AI help, not hype: Technicians can do a lot these days with automated lip-syncs and smiles but what’s behind them? This summer, some were simply agog over “Sophia, the First Robot Citizen” (“unsettling as it is awe-inspiring”)…

2018 AI Hype Countdown 4: Making AI Look More Human Makes It More Human-like! AI help, not hype: Technicians can do a lot these days with automated lip-syncs and smiles but what’s behind them? This summer, some were simply agog over “Sophia, the First Robot Citizen” (“unsettling as it is awe-inspiring”)…

2018 AI Hype Countdown 5: AI Can Fight Hate Speech! AI help, not hype: AI can carry out its programmers’ biases and that’s all. Putting these kinds of decisions in the hands of software programs is not likely to promote vigorous and healthy debate.

2018 AI Hype Countdown 6: AI Can Even Find Loopholes in the Code! AI help, not hype: AI adopts a solution in an allowed set, maybe not the one you expected.

2018 AI Hype Countdown 7: Computers can develop creative solutions on their own! AI help, not hype: Programmers may be surprised by which solution, from a range they built in, comes out on top Sometimes the results are unexpected and even surprising. But they follow directly from the program doing exactly what the programmer programmed it to do. It’s all program, no creativity.

2018 AI Hype Countdown 8: AI Just Needs a Bigger Truck! AI help, not hype: Can we create superintelligent computers just by adding more computing power? Some think computers could greatly exceed human intelligence if only we added more computing power. That reminds me of an old story…

2018 AI Hype Countdown 9: Will That Army Robot Squid Ever Be “Self-Aware”? The thrill of fear invites the reader to accept a metaphorical claim as a literal fact.

2018 AI Hype Countdown: 10. Is AI really becoming “human-like”?: AI help, not hype: Here’s #10 of our Top Ten AI hypes, flops, and spins of 2018 A headline from the UK Telegraph reads “DeepMind’s AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical ‘turning point’ for AI” Don’t worry if you missed it.

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