AI Versus People? That Is Easy. AI

April 25, 2024

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

I don’t like to include management information in Beyond Search. I have noticed more stories related to management decisions related to information technology. Here’s an example of my breaking my own editorial policies. Navigate to “SF Exec Defends Brutal Tech Trend: Lay Off Workers to Free Up Cash for AI.” I noted this passage:

Executives want fatter pockets for investing in artificial intelligence.


Okay, Mr. Efficiency and mobile phone betting addict, you have reached a logical decision. Why are there no pictures of friends, family, and achievements in your window office? Oh, that’s MSFT Copilot’s work. What’s that say?

I think this means that “people resources” can be dumped in order to free up cash to place bets on smart software. The write up explains the management decision making this way:

Dropbox’s layoff was largely aimed at freeing up cash to hire more engineers who are skilled in AI.

How expensive is AI for the big technology companies? The write up provides this factoid which comes from the masterful management bastion:

Google AI leader Demis Hassabis said the company would likely spend more than $100 billion developing AI.

Smart software is the next big thing. Big outfits like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft believe it. Venture firms appear to be into AI. Software development outfits are beavering away with smart technology to make their already stellar “good enough” products even better.

Money buys innovation until it doesn’t. The reason is that the time from roll out to saturation can be difficult to predict. Look how long it has taken the smart phones to become marketing exercises, not technology demonstrations. How significant is saturation? Look at the machinations at Apple or CPUs that are increasingly difficult to differentiate for a person who wants to use a laptop for business.

There are benefits. These include:

  • Those getting fired can say, “AI RIF’ed me.”
  • Investments in AI can perk up investors.
  • Jargon-savvy consultants can land new clients.
  • Leadership teams can rise about termination because these wise professionals are the deciders.

A few downsides can be identified despite the immaturity of the sector:

  • Outputs can be incorrect leading to what might be called poor decisions. (Sorry, Ms. Smith, your child died because the smart dosage system malfunctioned.)
  • A large, no-man’s land is opening between the fast moving start ups who surf on cloud AI services and the behemoths providing access to expensive infrastructure. Who wants to operate in no-man’s land?
  • The lack of controls on smart software guarantee that bad actors will have ample tools with which to innovate.
  • Knock-on effects are difficult to predict.

Net net: AI may be diffusing more quickly and in ways some experts chose to ignore… until they are RIF’ed.

Stephen E Arnold, April 25, 2024


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