IBM Seeks to Avoid Groundhog Day in AI/ML

July 8, 2022

How do you deliver the killer AI/ML system? Via news releases and PR perhaps?

The Next Web claims that, “IBM’s Human-Centered Approach Is The Only Big Tech Blueprint AI Startups Should Follow.” Author Tristan Greene reminds readers that IBM’s initials stand for International Business Machines and he met the company’s first chief AI officer Seth Dobrin. Dobrin said IBM would never focus on consumer AI, i.e. virtual assistants and selfie apps.

Dobrin also stated that IBM’s goal is to create AI models that improve human life and provide value for its clients and partners. It is apparently not hard to do if you care about how individuals will be affected by monetized models. He compared these models to toys:

“During a discussion with the Financial Times’ Tim Bradshaw during the conference, Dobrin used the example of large-parameter models such as GPT-3 and DALL-E 2 as a way to describe IBM’s approach.

He described those models as “toys,” and for good reason: they’re fun to play with, but they’re ultimately not very useful. They’re prone to unpredictability in the form of nonsense, hate speech, and the potential to output private personal information. This makes them dangerous to deploy outside of laboratories.

However, Dobrin told Bradshaw and the audience that IBM was also working on a similar system. He referred to these agents as “foundational models,” meaning they can be used for multiple applications once developed and trained.”

IBM takes a human approach to its projects. Instead of feeding its AI datasets that could contain offensive information, IBM checks the data first before experimenting. That way the AI is already compliance ready and there will not be any bugs to work out later (at least the prejudice type). IBM is also focused on outcomes, not speculation, which is not how the tech giants work.

IBM wants to withstand an AI winter that could come after the fancy lights, parlor tricks, and flashy PR campaigns are in the past. Human-centered AI technologies, as Dobrin believes, will last longer and provide better services. IBM is also dedicated to sustainability.

IBM is green and wants to create better products and services before launch? It sounds better than most, but can they deliver?

Whitney Grace, July 8, 2022


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