AI is a hit in the woke era

2017-01-08 06:03
Nao's robot Zora before its presentation in Liege. (John Thys, AFP)

Nao's robot Zora before its presentation in Liege. (John Thys, AFP)

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TECHNOLOGY

CHATBOTS. LOOK WHAT’S TALKING

Chatbots are automated text conversation computer programs that use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to talk to customers/users.

Want to disappear from a fleeting relationship? Ghostbot is a burner text messaging bot that will ghost you away. Boo without the boohoo.

Can’t sleep? Need something to do to pass the time? Send a text to the Casper mattress company’s chatbot and talk about anything and everything.

And in South Africa, leading the technological evolution in low- and middle-income countries, the Praekelt Foundation launched a new chatbot for Messenger, integrated into the South African department of health’s MomConnect, at the 21st International Aids Conference last year. The bot provides mothers with more affordable and interactive access to the stage-based messages provided by the technology’s SMS services.

RETAIL

AFTER-HOURS RETAILING. MIXING BUSINESS WITH BUSINESS

Retailers are surprising customers with services and unexpected experiences when their doors close.

Capitalising on their real estate when they’re not serving meals, restaurants are emerging as transient office spaces for nomadic or gig workers (a term used for people who are contracted for short-term engagements).

Sonos, the sound system company, installed a sleepover/listening room in Brooklyn’s Rough Trade record store. Booked via Airbnb, guests spend the night in this vintage-style room, equipped with a sound system, and have full access to the store’s music inventory.

In London, the Science Museum has launched Astronights Slumbers: adult sleepovers that allow guests to take part in torchlight tours, creative workshops or catch a midnight movie before bedding down among the exhibits.

ECONOMY

ALGORITHMIC MANAGEMENT DELIVERS THE WORKS

Organisations are increasingly favouring algorithms to create more effective decision making and judgement in the workplace.

Bosses are becoming algorithms. Managers’ jobs are being automated and algorithms are doing a far more productive and effective job.

It’s reported that AI will eliminate 6% of jobs within five years. Intelligent agents and robots will eradicate many positions, including customer service, web designers, online marketers, accountants, HR professionals, trucking and taxi services, journalists, lawyers and psychologists. The list continues to grow as technology advances.

AI is big in Japan. AI-CD is a robot that is being treated as an actual employee as a creative director – a substantial and weighty position – in a top advertising agency.

NATURAL WORLD

THE BIORIGHTS MOVEMENT. ASSISTED DYING. WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?

People are exercising their ownership rights in terms of their bodies and their lives.

Patients are demanding cash for and control over their DNA, and are refusing to provide specimens unless they are compensated. Human DNA is a valuable commodity in medical research and is in high demand by drug companies, governments and academic centres.

On his 85th birthday in October last year, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu wrote that he wanted to end his life through assisted dying and that terminally ill people should have the right to choose a dignified death. However, the Supreme Court of Appeal recently overturned a ruling by a high court that granted Robin Stransham-Ford the right to die in 2015. The Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Japan and Canada all allow some form of legal, doctor-assisted euthanasia.

DIPLOMACY

WOKE IS WIDE AWAKE. POST-TRUTH POLITICS: THE DAYS OF OUR LIES

Woke, a slang term that originated in the African-American community in the US, has gained traction on social media and has permeated mainstream culture.

The word refers to being able to think for oneself. In vague terms, woke also refers to an intangible level of awareness about community issues, racism, sexism, classism and social justice.

It used to be that the purpose of political lying was to create a false view of the world. The lies told ahead of the US elections last year did not work like that – they are not intended to convince the elites, whom their target voters neither trust nor like, but to reinforce prejudices.

In South Africa, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks and other supposed bastions of integrity have been shown up to be somewhat more than economical with the truth.

SOCIOCULTURAL

AI GETS CREATIVE WITH MOVIES AND MUSIC

Named after IBM’s first CEO, Thomas Watson, the Watson computer system was specifically developed to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy! In 2011, Watson competed on Jeopardy! against former winners and won.

Now Watson has made its directorial debut by creating a trailer for the 20th Century Fox sci-fi drama Morgan.

The product of Flow Machines, Daddy’s Car is a song written by AI that analysed a database of 13 000 music samples and was then programmed to compose music in the style of The Beatles. AI has already started creating our entertainment.

Watch AI in action: 

Listen to how AI does The Beatles:


Chang is the founder of Flux Trends. For more game-changing business trends visit fluxtrends.com

Read more on:    science  |  artificial intelligence  |  computers

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