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Three AI insights for hard-charging, future-oriented smartypantses

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the hype and exaggeration surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) technology, particularly the claims made by prominent figures like Elon Musk. It examines how AI is often used as a marketing tool, with companies and individuals making bold claims that are not backed by reality. The article also explores the phenomenon of "human-in-a-robot-suit" where low-wage workers are used to create the illusion of fully automated systems.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Living in the age of AI hype

1. What are the key points made about the claims of AI pitchmen?

  • AI pitchmen make blatant and obvious lies about the capabilities of AI, similar to what cult leaders do
  • The claims of AI pitchmen often turn out to be false, as seen with the Mechanical Turk and Elon Musk's promises about Tesla's "full self-driving" and Neuralink's brain implants
  • The article suggests that Musk's claims about Neuralink's brain implants are likely fabricated, given the company's history of mistreating primates

2. What examples are provided of the "human-in-a-robot-suit" phenomenon?

  • Cruise, GM's "robot taxi" company, had 1.5 remote operators for every one of the cars on the road, using AI to replace a single driver with multiple high-wage technicians
  • The article suggests that much of the "AI" in the world is actually low-wage workers in the Global South pretending to be robots, as evidenced by the Indian techie joke "AI stands for 'absent Indian'"
  • The author provides an anecdote about the launch of Amazon Go stores, where the AI-enabled cameras were backstopped by a minimum of three camera operators in an Indian call center

[02] The hype around AI and technology

1. How does the article compare the hype around AI to the hype during the Space Age?

  • The article suggests that the high-tech sector often pretends to be science fiction, but is usually just fantasy, similar to the performative bullshit seen during the Space Age
  • The author provides an example of a radio show with an "AI co-host", which is compared to the fins on automobiles during the Space Age - a superficial addition rather than a meaningful technological advancement

2. What is the author's perspective on the criticism of AI and technology hype?

  • The article suggests that criticizing companies for their effective automation helps them sell stock and make their executives richer, while criticizing them for lying about their automation clobbers the personal net worth of the executives
  • The author argues that the criticism of Amazon Go's "fully automated" stores was missing the point that Amazon had likely replaced low-wage clerks in the USA with even-lower-wage camera operators in India
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