IBM’s Waston is a pretty amazing piece of technology. This smart supercomputer has many accomplishments under his belt, including defeating some of the world’s smartest people in a game of televised Jeopardy. But as much as Watson knows, he’s not to be trusted as a doctor – yet.
In 2018, IBM Watson attempted to launch a medical AI system to make suggestions for treating cancer patients. IBM’s objective was nothing less than to “eradicate cancer.” But it didn’t take long for hospitals and oncologists to see major flaws. At one point, Watson suggested putting a patient with excessive bleeding on a medication that would cause even more bleeding – possibly killing the patient in the process!
IBM has blamed its engineers, stating they programmed Watson with hypotheticals and fictional cases, rather than relying on actual patient data and historical medical charts. Either way, it’s not a good look for Watson. Perhaps he’ll stick to gameshows.
Voice-Spoofing AI Software Cons CEO
Deepfakes are becoming a serious (and alarming) problem. Hackers have found ways to fake voices, pictures, and even video. And in certain cases, the effects are disastrous.
In March 2019, the CEO of a UK-based company got a phone call from his boss over at the German parent company. He was instructed to transfer the equivalent of $243,000 to a Hungarian supplier. The request was marked as urgent and the CEO was told to carry it out right away. The only problem with the request was that it wasn’t his boss on the other end of the line. It was an AI-based software made to mimic the boss’s voice.
While we’re calling this an AI failure, the reality is that the AI software won. It was the humans who got played to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars!
AI: Challenges and Opportunities
As we can clearly see, AI isn’t without its issues. As it pertains to business, AI implementation still faces several challenges. They include:
- Limited processing power. While AI and ML have great potential, they utilize a ton of processing power. Most computing simply isn’t that advanced. As a result, it’s difficult to fully utilize these technologies outside of very specific environments.
- Limited knowledge. Only a handful of people truly understand AI well enough to explain it to the marketplace. This has kept adoption rates from being where they should be and is slowing down growth.
- Lack of trust. There will always be a degree of mistrust between people and computers. And while relations have improved over the past few years, failures like the ones outlined in this article don’t help much.
- Data security. In order for AI applications to work, these systems need access to millions of data points. This creates possible weak spots and vulnerabilities for hackers to target and compromise.
Despite these challenges, the beauty of AI lies in its intelligence and brilliance. Not only are many of the world’s greatest minds dedicating their lives to improving and refining technology, but when you couple it with machine learning (ML), you get a self-fueling cycle of growth where every problem and mistakes ultimately paves the way for greater efficiency, accuracy, and opportunity. Speaking of opportunities, here are some of the top ones I see moving forward:
- Makes big data easy. One of the issues businesses have with big data is finding ways to make sense of it. With so much information to sort through, discovering how to interpret and apply findings is difficult. AI can streamline this and lead to better, more efficient processes.
- Superior analysis. Certain AI systems can be used to monitor, detect, and analyze changes in various settings. Businesses can use it to keep an eye on competitors and understand things like price changes, PR activities, social engagement, etc.
- Smarter searches. The internet makes the world go around. In particular, search engines shape trends and control the flow of information. Search engine companies like Google are using AI and ML to transform the industry and deliver more accurate and timely results to customer searches.