Are people better than AI?

I am struggling with the wealth of distractions that twitter and the web offer up each day. I’ve even taking to getting up earlier to have more time to read in the mornings. Anyway here is one of today’s offerings, courtesy of Bloomberg Opinion. Parmy Olson has written an article entitled “Much Artificial Intelligence Is Still People Behind a Screen.”

She says:

The practice of hiding human input in AI systems still remains an open secret among those who work in machine learning and AI. A 2019 analysis of tech startups in Europe by London-based MMC Ventures even found that 40% of purported AI startups showed no evidence of actually using artificial intelligence in their products.

One reason put forward is the premium being paid by potential investors to AI start up companies. Another is the need for large amounts of training data to develop machine learning applications. Some companies claim that the human behind the screen is merely monitoring the AI apps. “But in some cases,” says Olson.”these workers are doing more cognitively intensive tasks because the algorithms they oversee don’t work well enough on their own.”

She points to the large numbers  of content moderators employed by Facebook as evidence  of the limitations of AI because their machine-learning algorithms don’t work well enough in stopping harmful content. But it is not just Facebook among big corporations who are employing humans instead of AI Amazon has the same problem with their popular MTurk application.

A major concern is the poor pay and working conditions for many of those employed in the data labelling industry.

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