From the Desk of the CTO: Artificial? yes. Intelligent? no.

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By Anthony Juliano
CTO & General Partner

I’m tired.

I’m tired of marketing organizations using the term “AI” to describe some portion of machine learning in their technology, when in reality they *at best* mean “machine intelligence”, and really in most cases mean algorithmic analysis.

I’m tired because the buzz at CES last week was “AI powered this” and “artificially intelligent that” and when you unravel the marketing claims – there’s just no substance.

I’m tired of it because one of our companies has built an actual cognitive machine intelligence platform that replaces human-level workflows – and is pretty much the closest that ANY company has come to AI.

And it didn’t happen overnight, they’ve been working on this with the most talented minds in academia, government, and business for the better part of 20 years.

Maybe most of all, I’m tired of it because I have too much integrity for what’s right around the corner – a genuine true AI that will pass the Turing Test – and I have too much integrity to stoop to the ‘buzzword’ ploy and start marketing my portfolio client as “AI.” Because it’s not. YET. But it will be.

And when that time comes, I’m worried that the marketing will look just like everyone else’s has for the past six months – and outbound marketing will get lost in a sea of rapid race-to-the-bottom messages that have been irresponsibly touting “AI” that was really just robotic response. And I suppose my client will continue to win deals based on word-of-mouth referrals and good old-fashioned legwork, which is how they became a $600MM entity in the first place – in spite of ugly, crowded, overpaid marketing related to “automation”.

Let’s just be clear what a “major-technology-company-who-shall-not-be-named” is marketing (and very well) as their “AI chatbot”… This is an input exchange with said “AI”:

>> don’t play some music
Sure thing! Which genre would you prefer? Jazz is my personal favorite.

>> if you play even a single note of jazz I will literally drive this car into a wall
Great choice! Playing some jazz music for you.

>> 123 asdjkl turn akjsdkald 12313 off jaskdlasjdkla lights
Ok. Turning off the lights.

While that passes the test of artificial, it doesn’t pass my definition of intelligent (or Turing’s).


I want to talk with enterprise technology executives about AI – are you tired of the buzzwords too? Do you want to see real machine intelligence in action applied to your business TODAY – right now?

Send me an email – let’s talk about the future and the present, and not about marketing.