The Sunday AI Review: 2nd July 2017
by Michele Baker
It’s that time of the week again where I take my net and trawl through the biggest news in artificial intelligence and machine learning to find you the best articles from the last seven days.
I’m writing my review this week from bed on Friday night, whilst Indie and Billy the dog sleep soundly beside me. This is basically the only time I’m going to get if I’m to get this to you bright and early on Sunday morning, as I’ve got lots of fun plans for Indie and me this weekend.
So, time to get a move on…
I always love it when we have a nice mix of the weird and wonderful mixed in with the serious AI news, so the top shared article this week has made me hug myself with glee…
With weirdness enough to rival last week’s top story, this week someone has had enough time on their hands to create an AI that generates inspirational posters. You know the type of thing: sunset, a kitten, a footprint in the sand, overlaid with some sappy text about believing in yourself? Well, the Inspirobot tries its best, I guess – but the results are hilariously nihilistic…
Every week I am asked to write some article or another about the threat of AI on jobs. Some weeks, I am cautiously optimistic, following the voices in the tech community that insist that it’ll all be fine because all other industrial revolutions have created more jobs than they have destroyed. Other weeks, I read something like this and I am plunged into existential despair once more, worrying over whether procreating in this doomed world was really a good idea after all. Fancy joining me in despair? Here you go!
Well, thank goodness for that! After all the NYT doom and gloom, it’s good to find a contradicting article that gives us a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It also, crucially, puts the emotive scaremongering in its place with a nice smattering of stats and facts. Thanks to the author, Andrew McAfee, for untangling me from the spiral of hopelessness.
4. Consumer-goods giant Unilever has been hiring employees using brain games and artificial intelligence — and it’s a huge success (Business Insider UK)
What the bot doth take away with one hand, it doth give back with the other. Or something.
This news centres around Unilever’s interesting use of AI to help with its recruitment process. Candidates play neuroscience-based games to measure inherent traits, then have recorded interviews analysed by AI. If candidates pass the AI screening, they go through an in-person screening that determines whether they get the job.
Seems like a pretty sensible decision really. I have a few friends in Recruitment who would welcome losing the task of trawling through candidates to a robot.
This week’s winner of the ‘Yeah, like…duh!’ award goes to the Wall Street Journal, for their fascinating coverage of the bleeding obvious. I can’t say too much about this because of the blasted paywall, but suffice to say, things will clearly evolve beyond an easily-broken block you have to carry everywhere in your hand.