Enterprise Search and the AI Autumn

January 13, 2020

DarkCyber noted this BBC write up: “Researchers: Are We on the Cusp of an AI Winter?” Our interpretation of the Beeb story can be summarized this way:

“Yikes. Maybe this stuff doesn’t work very  well?”

The Beeb explains in Queen’s English based on quotes of experts:

Gary Marcus, an AI researcher at New York University, said: “By the end of the decade there was a growing realization that current techniques can only carry us so far.”

He [Gary Marcus and AI wizard at NYU] thinks the industry needs some “real innovation” to go further. “There is a general feeling of plateau,” said Verena Rieser, a professor in conversational AI at Edinburgh’s Herriot Watt University. One AI researcher who wishes to remain anonymous said we’re entering a period where we are especially skeptical about AGI.

Well, maybe.

But the enterprise search cheerleaders have not gotten the memo. The current crop of “tap your existing unstructured information” companies assert that artificial intelligence infuses their often decades old systems with zip.

The story is being believed by venture outfits. The search for the next big thing is leading to making sense of unstructured text. After all, the world is awash in unstructured text. Companies have to solve this problem or red ink and extinction are just around the corner.

Net net: AI is a collection of tools, some useful, some not too useful. Enterprise search vendors are looking for a way to make sales to executives who don’t know or don’t care about past failures to index unstructured text on a company wide basis with a single system.

Stephen E Arnold, January 13, 2020

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