“When is AI not really AI?”

It sounds like the kind of question that could be used to short-circuit an artificially intelligent robot! But according to latest reports, it seems that cases of what are known as ‘Pseudo-AI’ are on the rise.

From new chatbots to home automation tech, we are informed that AI is revolutionising the way we live, work and play. Although according to a lot of new reports in the likes of The Guardian and the Wall Street Journal cases of pseudo-AI – where a human (usually on sub-minimum wage!) is actually pretending to be an AI or a robot.

Adam Drake, an expert in artificial intelligence, says that AI capabilities in general “are far lower than people often admit.”

Drake adds: “It is very easy to spend a lot of time and money developing an elaborate, automated, scalable system for a problem that nobody really cares about. By doing things manually and less efficiently at first, companies can ensure that they are investing in technology which solves a valuable problem for customers.”

So the reality is that it is often cheaper to hire minimum or sub-minimum wage labour to do the job of a costly robot. At least until the startup in question manages to land that first chunk of VC cash…

“Developing the software can be quite expensive, and human labour is cheap,” says Robert Seamans, an associate professor at the NYU Stern School of Business.

“We’ve seen great progress in lab-like settings, but it is hard to actually implement AI in the real world.”

Seamans adds: “Misleading customers, investors, or the public about the nature of the company and how it solves problems is ethically wrong and also bad business practice.”



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