AI is bollocks… or is it?


Well someone actually said it – and it may not come as a complete shock that it’s come from everyone’s favorite RPA evangelist Guy Kirkwood, of UIPath fame. Even more impressive is guy’s beautiful command of the English language to describe the latest hyped term “AI”, now that most the hypesters have got bored touting the massively disruptive impacts of IoT and digital – and the automation conversations have just got a bit rinse and repeat.  Guy is saying that true AI is when we arrive at the “singularity” (which Ray Kurzweil predicts will happen in 2029), when machines will become smarter than humans, abruptly triggering runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

Guy basically claims it’s incorrect that we are dubbing the conglomeration of tools, such as NLP, Machine Learning etc as “AI”.  While I agree with Guy that the inane use of the term AI is driving me (and many of my colleagues) to scream “Please just stop the bollocks!”, my point to him is: what else do we call tools which are all about “the simulation of human thought processes across enterprise operations, where the system makes autonomous decisions, using high-level policies, constantly monitoring and optimizing its performance and automatically adapting itself to changing conditions and evolving business rules and dynamics.”  So if this isn’t Artificial Intelligence, what is it?

And my further point, here, is that these tools are already here and being heavily piloted and evaluated, according to 400 major enterprises in our recent State of Automation and AI Study:

Sorry, Guy, but while we all want to scream “bollocks!” at all the bollocks, I think we’re stuck with AI until the next buzz term comes along =)

Posted in : Cognitive Computing, Outsourcing Heros, Robotic Process Automation



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  1. You will excuse me I’m an old fuddydud who has been knocking around the domain for 35 years so maybe I missed something but I’m afraid I have to agree that "AI is Bollox". There is no commonly accepted definition of "intelligence" so making claims about artificial constructs or "simulations" of it is a little like saying I’m going to make a car, I don’t know what it is but I going to make it. Saying the tools are AI is liking holding up a crankshaft and saying "this is a car". Do the tools deliver ROI for the enterprise? In properly developed and maintained applications sure (well except for the odd bits like when they can’t identify African Americans or women of any race in images) but that has nothing to do with "AI". They automate tasks thats all.

    BTW we folks on the symbolic side of the domain are still here (you know rules CBR, fuzzy Bayesian etc. ) and we probably have more enterprise applications delivering more ROI than all the connectionist applications counted in your survey,. You might want to include them next time. 🙂

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