Tuesday, July 12, 2016

If machines are human, would you let one marry your daughter?*

Several months ago, the internet was all abuzz over the victory of Google's AlphaGo program beating Go grandmaster Lee Sedol (see story here). As the game of Go is a computationally and mathematically complicated game and the number of variations in the game is an order of magnitude higher than chess, it was a great victory for the kinds of "deep learning" artificial intelligence (AI) techniques pioneered by Google's Deep Mind team.

Indeed, there have been great strides by AI research teams in the fields of pattern recognition and natural language processing. As an example, the Washington Post chronicled a startup called Viv designed to be a natural language AI bot that can order you pizza, among other tasks:
In an ordinary conference room in this city of start-ups, a group of engineers sat down to order pizza in an entirely new way.

“Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” one of the engineers said into his smartphone. It was their first real test of Viv, the artificial-intelligence technology that the team had been quietly building for more than a year. Everyone was a little nervous. Then, a text from Viv piped up: "Would you like toppings with that?"

The engineers, eight in all, started jumping in: “Pepperoni.” “Half cheese.” “Caesar salad.” Emboldened by the result, they peppered Viv with more commands: Add more toppings. Remove toppings. Change medium size to large.

About 40 minutes later — and after a few hiccups when Viv confused the office address — a Pizz’a Chicago driver showed up with four made-to-order pizzas.

The engineers erupted in cheers as the pizzas arrived. They had ordered pizza, from start to finish, without placing a single phone call and without doing a Google search — without any typing at all, actually. Moreover, they did it without downloading an app from Domino’s or Grubhub.
The full post can be found at our new site here.

* The title was inspired by an old science fiction short story entitled "If all men were brothers, would you let one marry your sister?"

No comments: