• Will Avvo‘s coming acquisition by Internet Brands spur AI development? Perhaps not immediately, but probably eventually, as intimated by Avvo CEO Mark Britton saying: “A lot of what WebMD is trying to solve in medical is what we’re trying to solve in legal.”


  • Here, from Artificial Lawyer, are predictions for what’s coming in 2018 from Tim Pullan (CEO and Founder of legal AI and risk analysis company, ThoughtRiver). Among his thoughts, AI will become essential, change will come fast, and clients will be looking for efficiencies. As always, “good data” will be the sine qua non.


  • Here’s a plea from Congressman John Delaney (DMD 6th District), founder of the Artificial Intelligence Caucus, for Congress to get serious about AI regulation, beginning with passage of The Future of AI Act. (Full text here. It’s not very ambitious, but it’s a start.)


  • Here, from Information Age, are some predictions for 2018. I include these because they are so cybersecurity-focused. I expect AI’s relationship to security to be very important this year.


  • Speaking of predictions, here are PwC’s Eight for 2018. It’s hard to argue with any of them. Some of them touch on the always controversial topic of AI and jobs. When I am (frequently) asked how AI will impact jobs, here’s how I respond:

Almost everything about the future impacts of AI is (more or less) educated guess work, but I am certain of a few things:

  1. AI will eliminate jobs, especially jobs that are mainly “routine” or based on some sort of calculating.
  2. Some jobs will be largely immune to the impact of AI, least for a few years. These will mostly consist of tasks that remain uniquely human, requiring judgement and/or intuition (though AI is already encroaching on both of these). Jobs that rely heavily on interpersonal relationships (e.g., account management) are likely to be safest for the near term.
  3. AI will create jobs as the role of directing the AI (setting priorities, assigning resources, planning AI interconnections, etc.) grows substantially in importance.
  4. Will the net impact be positive or negative? Again, this is guesswork. My guess is that for two or three years the net impact will be more creation than elimination, then it will begin to reverse. If I am certain of anything re AI and jobs, it is that those most informed about AI, willing to embrace it and work with it, will have the most secure jobs for the longest time.
  5. Within about 5-10 years I expect very serious political debate about 3-day work weeks and guaranteed minimum income as productivity increases substantially and whole classes of jobs disappear (e.g., long haul truck drivers, taxi drivers, media buyers, assembly line workers).

On a closely related note, easily my biggest fear about AI is the widening of the wealth gap.


  • With CES behind us, there’s another big industry show underway, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There’s the usual “wow” factor from futuristic styling (see above), and these days autonomous vehicles are always at the forefront, but this year a lot of the buzz is about AI under the hood, or built into the dash, or connected to systems outside the vehicle (i.e., “situational awareness” or as Ford’s CEO put it, “cellular vehicle-to-everything technology“). “This year’s auto show featured sessions on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle systems, vehicle security and mobility.”

On a related note: “Hyundai Motor announced that it will invest $21.5 billion in five new industries including robotics and artificial intelligence in the next five years, which will create 45,000 jobs.”

Hearkening back top my post earlier this week, at CES and the Auto Show, “voice” is the big thing.


  • Two interesting endeavors were announced this week to make it easier for smaller enterprises to use AI, one by Indico and Cloud AutoML by Google. More details re Google’s offering here. Sounds promising.


  • It seems to be the week of announcing important gatherings to study and discuss AI. This one sounds very interesting: starting today at Brown University, researchers from computer science, mathematics, biology and psychology will gather discuss how deep learning falls short and what neural principles might power the next AI revolution.The event is the first in a symposium series dubbed Beyond Deep Learning, which will feature keynote talks from renowned experts as well as breakout sessions led by Brown faculty from disparate disciplines. The keynotes, which take place on Jan. 18 and 19 at 2 p.m. in Metcalf Auditorium, are free and open to the public. I look forward to some of the results! (Even this teaser for the event is interesting.)


  • Several folks have responded to my post about my home automation explorations with concerns and questions about privacy. Well if that has you worried, how about Google’s soon-to-be-released “Clip” camera. You just place it in a prominent place in your home, and “…Google will leverage the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to capture images based on facial recognition, lighting, and framing. Basically it’s almost as if you had a professional photographer living in your home to capture moments that you might miss out on or do not recognize. Of course those who are more privacy-conscious might not be too thrilled at such devices that could be seen as you being ‘spied’ on, but to each their own.”