Good Saturday morning! This weekend's briefing ranges from facial recognition gone bad to my time at the Ai4 2023 conference in Las Vegas. Read on for hot summer fun mixed with hot innovation in hot places.
Interesting data points
- Cold drinks make up 75% of sales at Starbucks
- Alaska has 2,760 named islands
- The Vatican is Europe's smallest country in size and population
- Seasonally adjusted CPI rose only 0.2% in July, but shelter is up
Is Facial Recognition Wrong?
News outlets were quick to blame facial recognition for misidentification of Porcha Woodruff. Yes, facial recognition does deserve some blame, but there's more to the story. In fact, it was a complete breakdown in common sense and good police work.
On the day Woodruff was arrested, she and her fiancé urged officers to check the warrant to confirm whether the woman who committed the crime was pregnant, which they refused to do, the lawsuit alleges.
Yes, Ms. Woodruff was pregnant and they used an 8-year-old photo of hers in the lineup, but was the facial recognition correct? Nope, it identified 73 people of which, Ms. Woodruff was one of them. Talk about throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping one of them hits a bullseye.
This is the danger of AI, the misuse and misunderstanding that it can and will make errors. While AI is a good tool for decision-making, it doesn't have reasoning ability. I would argue that the Detroit PD didn't have good reasoning ability in this case either, they were just looking to arrest someone.
Whenever we build AI models and systems, we must always be aware of racial, gender, and other biases that could "poison" the model. While we can build great AI models with strong statistical measures of fit, we should always test them and make sure that the outputs we get make sense.
Windmills vs Views
It's summertime in New Jersey and what do we Jerseyans do? We go down to The Shore. New Jersey has some amazing beaches and millions of people from in and around New Jersey flock to the beaches for some summer fun. However, this year the residents and visitors are riled up about plans to build windmills offshore.
Residents of Ocean City and surrounding Cape May County, helped by an outside group opposed to renewable energy, are mobilizing to stop Ocean Wind 1, a proposal to build up to 98 wind turbines the size of skyscrapers off the New Jersey coast, which could power half a million homes. - via Washington Post
While I'm a supporter of generating electricity from green sources, I'm not for destroying our views to do it. So yes, I say Fuggedaboudit and NO to offshore windmills. I know it makes me sound like a NIMBY guy and a bit hypocritical but I think we need to really evaluate the entire life cycle of building green infrastructure. My concern is that we're "greenwashing" green energy and not looking at other energy options, like nuclear energy.
Zoom Is Coming For Your User Data
Zoom made headlines this week for updating its terms and conditions to allow it to use data you generate to train generative AI models. They're not alone in trying to "legally" get access to your user data because Generative AI will and is changing the business landscape. Every company is in a mad scramble to tap their unstructured data and turn it into gold.
In a detailed perusal of the newly updated terms, two sections -10.2and10.4- stand out for their broad-ranging implications on how Zoom is permitted to utilize user data. These sections establish Zoom's rights to compile and utilize "Service Generated Data," which is any telemetry data, product usage data, diagnostic data, and similar content or data that Zoom collects in connection with users' use of their services or software.
A lot of companies already collect user and usage data but you have to "opt-in" to allow them to do that. In the case of Zoom there was no "opt-in" or "opt-out," they're just grabbing the data without your input! Yikes!
This week I was in Las Vegas for the #ai42023 conference, and everywhere I looked I saw LLM this and GenAI that. As I said it before, LLMs and GenAI are the "new AI". Granted, I say this with a bit of tongue in cheek, but it is true! Generative AI is making strong inroads in all sorts of business functions and processes.
The conference had many amazing talks about how to use Generative AI in different industries like healthcare, automotive, to finance. The use cases are endless once a business entity taps their unstructured data. For example, I'm working with partners and companies to use Generative AI for RFP/Proposal writing and wealth management chatbots.
In my free time I walked the floor to see what each vendor was "selling" and realized that there's a ton of hype out there right now. If I use my experience as a guide, I'm going to say that at least 50% of the new upstarts won't be around for next year's Ai4 conference.
Whether they flop or get acquired remains to be seen but everyone at the conference was excited about Generative AI. I was busier than a one legged man in a you know what contest and I spent hours doing demos showing off #H2oGPT and our open source suite of LLM building tools.
Overall it was a great conference in hot Las Vegas and I didn't lose any money at the slots or blackjack tables!