Thursday, March 2, 2017

When Machines Won’t Learn: " Facebook shifts away from AI…" (FB)

Chatbots anyway.
The rest of Facebook's artificial intelligence push seems to be going into hyperdrive to keep up with Google, Baidu, Microsoft, Amazon and the thousand other companies and labs trying to figure out where this all ends up.

From The Register:

Confirmed: Facebook shifts away from AI… and like a miracle, the bots start working
Facebook has revamped its Messenger bot platform that allows businesses to engage with the app's massive audience – and the story is a lesson for anyone looking for practical applications of the AI and machine learning hype.

If you believe the evangelists, "new advances in AI" will allow businesses to restructure their support and sales operations, and maybe even their business models.

Via a chatbot interface, the AI would take care of work a human would do. Mark Zuckerberg implied as much when he introduced Facebook’s bot platform only last April to great fanfare, in a move hailed as part of an AI arms race.

The "Fourth Industrial Revolution" of white-collar automation was almost here.

But reports that Facebook has scaled back the fashionable emphasis on machine learning and AI after encountering a high failure rate have turned out to be true. And British entrepreneur Syd Lawrence, whose company worked closely with Facebook on the changes, thinks Facebook has been wise to move away from an emphasis on AI.

"The whole AI hype is horrifically off the mark," he told us. "Whereas these things can be really useful and powerful. But they're certainly not AI. We're way away from AI being really useful."
Lawrence, CEO of The Bot Platform, is an early access partner for the Facebook platform, and employs some former Facebook staff.

"The whole conversation around AI and even the term chatbots is all horribly wrong," says Lawrence. "I really hope we can put AI chatbots to rest. No one wants to talk to a chatbot." If that sounds odd from a company at the bleeding edge of the chatbot hype, then it needs an explanation....MORE