The unhinged discourse around AI

Useful essay in the Guardian by Oscar Schwartz on the clickbait-driven inanity of public discourse about AI. Sample:

Zachary Lipton, an assistant professor at the machine learning department at Carnegie Mellon University, watched with frustration as this story transformed from “interesting-ish research” to “sensationalized crap”.

According to Lipton, in recent years broader interest in topics like “machine learning” and “deep learning” has led to a deluge of this type of opportunistic journalism, which misrepresents research for the purpose of generating retweets and clicks – he calls it the “AI misinformation epidemic”. A growing number of researchers working in the field share Lipton’s frustration, and worry that the inaccurate and speculative stories about AI, like the Facebook story, will create unrealistic expectations for the field, which could ultimately threaten future progress and the responsible application of new technologies.

Good stuff. Lipton’s blog is terrific btw.

One quick tip for improving coverage. Most stuff labelled as “AI” is actually just machine learning. So why not say that?