Google and Demos

May 18, 2018

Over the years, I have experienced some great demos. Bill Gates made crazy Microsoft software worked despite all odds. There were magic dance steps executed by Steve Jobs. I even watched as one gifted presenter made Fast Search & Transfer import disparate content, leaving the exceptions folder as empty as the pockets of gig economy workers who were not paid.

I read “What Google Isn’t Telling Us about Its AI Demo.” My initial reaction was, “Hello, that was a demo.” I did not say to myself, “Wow, that’s a real product.”

Nor did I say, “Google has finally cracked the chatbot problems which make the systems almost useless for real world issues customers often have and need help resolving.”

Nope. Demo.

However, it appears that some people believed their eyes and ears. The write up states:

Google may well have created a lifelike voice assistant that we’ll all eventually use to complete mundane tasks like appointment scheduling. It also might be close to creating such a thing, but not quite there yet. Or it was partially staged. Or something else entirely. We just don’t know, because Google w7on’t answer the questions.

The questions which Google did not answer, of course, are about the mechanics of the demo.

Net net: Demos are not exact representations of what some smart systems can actually do. Case in point: Driver assist autos which crash into big things.

Surprised? I’m not.

Stephen E Arnold, May 18, 2018


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