The Snow Would Thaw

Interest in Ariticial Intelligence leads one to the famed "AI Winter," and there were two majors seasons: from 1974 - 1980, and another "AI Winter" from 1987 - 1993. During these times, the promises of a new paradigm in computing ushered in by the prophets of artiifical intelligence did not come to pass.

The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.

So wrote Neil Gaiman in "Odd and The Frost Giants."

Today, in 2015, we see an encroachment of Ariticial Intelligence, under the form of deep machine learning, penetrating nearly every aspect of our interconnected social lives.

Unfortunately, like most advancements in the sum of human knowledge, this amazing technology is being used to siphon more dollars from your provate coffers. Afterall, the greatest virtue of modern business appears to be maximizing value for shareholders.

Let me be perfectly clear: as a small business, we love revenue and profit. What we don't love is the commoditization of the invasion of personal privacy to slake the lusts of marketing executives in their never-ending quest to sell you garbage. We are critical of Facebook's strategy to pursue deep machine learning in order to creat an even more effective advertising platform.

Of course, painting in broad strokes while creating generalizations is fraught with the danger that communication will degenerate into disinformation and propaganda. However, we are not convinced that the ubiquitous proliferation of social media over the past decade is an automatic net benefit to the prosperity of humanity.

Yes, information technology, and social media in particular, are allowing groups of dissatisfied populations the ability to coordinate everything from revolutions to corporate boycotts.

But at what price?