Radical transformation is coming in many fields of human culture and endeavor. No, this is not just boilerplate praise of ongoing incremental technological innovation. The only way to grasp the magnitude and significance of these incipient changes is to imagine yourself living during the time when steam and then electricity opened continents, shrank the world, destroyed and rebuilt entire societies and ways of life. With that imaginative endeavor, we can at least get a glimpse of the transformation that has already begun but has not yet become fully apparent.
We’ve written about a few aspects of this revolution in the past months: about the acquisition of machine-learning firm DeepMind by Alphabet, Inc. [NASDAQ: GOOG]; about Elon Musk’s new venture to explore the incorporation of physical computer hardware into the human brain; about an inflection point in the arrival of autonomous, self-driving cars; and about unexpected innovations that are pushing Chinese social media and e-commerce companies ahead of their Western peers. All these facets of the coming transformation point in one direction: artificial intelligence (AI).
Here Comes the Singularity
There are many definitions of AI. (Some of the best explorations of AI issues have been through science fiction. We’re looking forward to the upcoming Blade Runner remake, even though we think no one could do justice to Rutger Hauer’s performance as the replicant leader Roy.) However, there is one definition that reveals why AI represents a change as momentous as steam power or electricity, or perhaps more so: and that definition revolves around ‘machine learning.’
This post was published at FinancialSense on 06/15/2017.