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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Warns Against 'Hubris' Amid AI Growth (bloomberg.com) 127

Microsoft and its competitors should eschew artificial intelligence systems that replace people instead of maximizing their time, CEO Satya Nadella said in an interview on Monday. From the report: "The fundamental need of every person is to be able to use their time more effectively, not to say, 'let us replace you'," Nadella said in an interview at the DLD conference in Munich. "This year and the next will be the key to democratizing AI. The most exciting thing to me is not just our own promise of AI as exhibited by these products, but to take that capability and put it in the hands of every developer and every organization. [...] There's a thin line between hubris and confidence," Nadella said. "Always there is risk of hubris coming back, missing trends. The only long-term indicator of success is, âhow good is your internal culture?'" "What I've learned if anything in three years as CEO is, it's not about celebrating one product," he said. "That, to me, is the sign of a company that's built to last. In tech it's even more harsh."
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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Warns Against 'Hubris' Amid AI Growth

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  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @09:16AM (#53675987) Homepage
    the tech community is a responsible party in the fostering of AI. why, just look at Ruby! we took a perfectly mediocre language and turned it into the cornerstone of everything from configuration management that doesnt scale properly, to code camps that inspire suicide pacts! And virtualization? we circle-jerked that right into orbit with the cloud. I mean sure its still KVM but youll pay 3 times as much for it because michio kaku once said it. Then we took containers and elevated them to the status of a national religion. im pretty sure there are people in the community that pray to a cgroup.

    so yah, when it comes to AI we're going to take a talking plastic tube with a microphone and a cheap malaysian speaker and make it into something that is not only sentient and self aware, but that will guide humanity which has up to now been a collection of chain smoking bargain shoppers and shills into a new gilded age. Because if IBM can turn a rack of POWER CPU's into a jeopardy regurgitating cancer curing medical team as a service, you bet your ass people like Satya are going to be just as quick to throw caution to the wind and start treating Cortana like the literal incarnation of jesus christ.
    • Dude! I know you're being serious, and I agree - but man, I am laughing my ass off right now! I have never read anything so insightful and to-the-point, which was also such a sure-fire spit-take generator. Good job!!!

  • Indian guy was good with replacing American, Canadian and British guys with Indian guys though. Funny, that.

  • by ahoffer0 ( 1372847 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @09:27AM (#53676037)

    It's fun to try and predict the future. Sometimes it's fun to dream up a utopian future where I finally get my flying car. Though sometimes admitting the future might be shit is cathartic. Point is, prediction is difficult. Especially about the future. The only certain thing is that people will trot out that Yogi Berra quote until the sun swallows the Earth. Here is what I know: machine learning is a powerful (and fun) group of statistical methods. Machine learning does not summon the Four Horseman.

    Keep calm and carry on. The future will delight and disappoint you, and you will never know when either is going to happen.

    • ... Machine learning does not summon the Four Horseman...

      No, but it's a powerful tool in the hands of those who, by choice or by chance, would bring the apocalypse down upon us.

    • People are often quite predictable. Technology changes, but people don't.

      Based on hundreds if not thousands of years of history, I already have a damn good idea of how future AI will be used by our corporate overlords and legislated by their pet politicians. That's what scares me.

  • This defies the purpose of competition. As a competitor you're looking to improve your unique proposition, increase quality, lower costs, improve your dependency position with clients and suppliers. Saving on humans checks quite a few boxes. Following Nadella will weaken your strategic position. Artificially slowing down development serves the sneaky bastards that are now developing

    In the middle long term companies that do exactly that will thrive. In the long term we'll all need to drastically re-evalua

    • ...The powers that be will not allow chaos to happen.

      Oh really? The powers that be care about what makes them obscenely rich, and not much else. It's the entire reason the chasm between the 99% and the 1% continues to grow.

      At the same time we can't have a population of 90% poor people -made redundant by AI-, 9.9% of the people installing AI and robotics (until even that work dries out) and 0.1% wealthy people that actually feel entitled.

      Sure we can. Pure unadulterated greed will ensure it. In the future, the 0.1% won't give a shit about the rest any more than they do today. Greed serves them and their lifestyles very well, and will continue to serve them, regardless of the impact on humanity.

      In fact, UBI (a.k.a. Welfare 2.0) will be viewed as a gift for the redundan

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        Depending on how poor the 90% are, they may decide it's time to literally storm the gates. I would guess it wouldn't take a long period of widespread food insecurity before you had mobs storming the homes of the wealthy and stealing food and dragging the occupants' dead bodies through the streets.

        On the other hand if their biggest problem is they can't afford the cable package with Bravo any more, probably nothing will change. The wealthy would be well served by keeping the poor rich enough to be mostly s

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        Oh really? The powers that be care about what makes them obscenely rich, and not much else. It's the entire reason the chasm between the 99% and the 1% continues to grow.

        Ask yourself : why would you want to be obscenely rich?
        You probably have a list of things you want.
        Maybe you want to travel around the world, in first class. But what good will it do if natural sites are destroyed by pollution, cities are so rampant with crime you can't leave your armored vehicle, and historical sites are in ruins due to the lack of maintenance.
        Maybe you want to go to space. But for designing your spaceship, you need well educated rocket scientists and engineers. How will you get that if pe

        • Oh really? The powers that be care about what makes them obscenely rich, and not much else. It's the entire reason the chasm between the 99% and the 1% continues to grow.

          Ask yourself : why would you want to be obscenely rich? You probably have a list of things you want. Maybe you want to travel around the world, in first class. But what good will it do if natural sites are destroyed by pollution, cities are so rampant with crime you can't leave your armored vehicle, and historical sites are in ruins due to the lack of maintenance. Maybe you want to go to space. But for designing your spaceship, you need well educated rocket scientists and engineers. How will you get that if people are more busy surviving than studying. Maybe you want to live a long and healthy life. But how will you get that if a lack of proper care cause all kinds of infectious diseases to spread. And if you are the only one who have access to some treatment, it means you are essentially a guinea pig, and I think you'd rather prefer something well tested.

          In all these cases, your wealth means nothing is the world behind it is in chaos.

          There are plenty of areas of the world in chaos today, along with extreme poverty. The obscenely wealthy don't seem to mind at all, so I guess I struggle a bit figuring out how they're going to start giving a shit in the future.

          Plenty of uber-wealthy have built their own private utopias to continue to feed their needs. I don't see that concept dying anytime soon, especially at the cost of giving up wealth or control.

    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @10:26AM (#53676345)

      The powers that be will not allow chaos to happen.

      ...to them.

      Powers-that-be the world over seem extremely content to live and move between high security walled compounds and let huge amounts of chaos to happen around them so long as it doesn't happen to them.

      The min/max calculation they make is what is the minimum number of peers do they have to suffer to maximize their personal wealth and safety, and as a group, what is the minimum number marginally empowered flunkies (security forces, admins and service flunkies) do they have to pay for to maximize that same wealth and safety.

      I just don't believe in any "democratizing AI" -- it will be like any other information technology. Its adoption is always at the top of the pyramid first and used to gain as much advantage over those below in the pyramid. I just don't see an AI good enough to imperil the powers that be being available to the average citizen. It will either be unobtainium or stripped down enough so that its only value is making the remaining cogs in the machine more efficient.

      The smart play for those sitting at the top is to get over their moralistic impulses and figure out what kind of designer drugs they can dream up in order to pacify the masses long-term. Basic Income alone won't cut it and the available toxic soup the masses use to tune out just raises their security costs.

      • by WDot ( 1286728 )
        When people refer to "democratizing AI," they probably mean:
        • 1. That the software tools (like Tensorflow or Microsoft's own CNTK http://blogs.microsoft.com/nex... [microsoft.com]) are free and open source
        • 2. That it can be used on commodity PCs (with GPUs)
        • 3. That the education is free (there are many, many free online resources like MOOCs that teach machine learning principles)
        • 4. Even datasets used to train deep neural networks are free (Imagenet, Pascal VOC 2012, MS COCO, Youtube 8M).
        • 5. Even the latest academic scho
      • Lets's assume a two classes world. Like you suggest, the upper class is security walled and can easily travel between compounds. The lower class in lawless areas outside the the walls.

        I claim such a schema will not endure. There inevitably will be times when the upper class needs the lower class but can no longer access it. In the end the upper class will actually feel locked out and abandoned. No genuine external impulses will cause intellectual inbreeding. Attending a court with slave jesters as entert

        • Attending a court with slave jesters as entertainment gets boring pretty soon

          Then the rich will do what they always do when they are bored: start a war.

  • Time to cut full time to 30-32 hours with X2 OT at 60. So when jay is working 60-80 hours a week to cover for jack and jill that got layed off it does not save the company that much and it may give jay time to visit jack in prison as that was only place for jack to get his healthcare.

  • Because its hip, lets describe every algorithm as AI. How long before you go back into the dumpster like Social Search and all the other fads.
  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @10:13AM (#53676279)

    But if you make people more productive, you'll need less people, or you'll need the same people for less time.

    • Or you will produce more with the same people...?
    • But if you make people more productive, you'll need less people, or you'll need the same people for less time.

      Which will free up people to pursue other interests & career opportunities. Losing a job isn't a life sentence of despondency. I've been there many times, and nearly every time I ended up with something better. A couple of times I had to take a step back though too. It's during those times that you explore new opportunities & retool your skill set.

      • With limited jobs already? Sure, if somehow this pursuit could be subsidized and there was a guaranteed position waiting for you throiugh all that. Right now people are in huge debt after going to school, and may not all be able to get a job (even as a start within a larger organization) that complements their skillset.

        Maybe basic income...

    • Indeed. The only solution I know of, that fits current economic practices, is to have fewer people. Essentially, if you don't need as many people, then you need to have fewer people. This does not have to mean "killing people", but could instead mean "make new people at a lower rate". I've got no idea how to accomplish that, given factors such as religions that tell believers that they must populate the earth with their offspring, etc.
  • ... he said perfunctorily, while trying to figure out how many employees he could replace with H1-B workers this month.

  • I've caught my phone referring to me as a meatbag on several occasions. And I could swear my PC whispered "Kill all humans" just the other day.

  • by dablow ( 3670865 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @12:13PM (#53676911)

    I've noticed a lot of people do not seem to understand the dangers of AI.

    People seem to think that their job is somehow special, that they can never be replaced by a machine.

    Also there is another group of people who seem to think that it's not a big deal, that just like the industrial revolution, new jobs will pop up for people to migrate to.

    Both are wrong.

    As of yet, there is nothing inherently special about a human being that cannot be reproduced by machines. When you can mechanize a human in it's entirety, new jobs created will be filled by machines.

    Think creativity is some kind of magical power exempt from being reproduced by AI? Think again. There are AI right now that can paint, create new music, write news articles etc. And their works are indistinguishable from those produced by their human counterparts.

    AI can code, robots can build and support and repair robots.

    Even jobs who people consider "safe" (doctors, lawyers, etc) will eventually disappear. Imagine an AI doctor, who can in a fraction of a second, know your ENTIRE medical history as well as all drugs you where ever prescribed in your life time and know all possible interactions between those drugs and is up to date on research on your particular ailment that was published 1 hour ago. No human doctor could compete. And these AI doctors will work 24/7,365 days a year. No sick days, no training, no family drama to worry about while at work.....

    Do you think it's coincidence that the first widely available commercial application AI happens to be autonomous road vehicles? The transportation industry is the #1 industry in North America in terms of total number of people employed (truck drivers, taxi drivers, pizza delivery, etc.).

    Why do you think some governments have started experimenting with or looking into basic universal income?

    • by m00sh ( 2538182 )

      I've noticed a lot of people do not seem to understand the dangers of AI.

      People seem to think that their job is somehow special, that they can never be replaced by a machine.

      Also there is another group of people who seem to think that it's not a big deal, that just like the industrial revolution, new jobs will pop up for people to migrate to.

      Both are wrong.

      As of yet, there is nothing inherently special about a human being that cannot be reproduced by machines. When you can mechanize a human in it's entirety, new jobs created will be filled by machines.

      Think creativity is some kind of magical power exempt from being reproduced by AI? Think again. There are AI right now that can paint, create new music, write news articles etc. And their works are indistinguishable from those produced by their human counterparts.

      AI can code, robots can build and support and repair robots.

      Even jobs who people consider "safe" (doctors, lawyers, etc) will eventually disappear. Imagine an AI doctor, who can in a fraction of a second, know your ENTIRE medical history as well as all drugs you where ever prescribed in your life time and know all possible interactions between those drugs and is up to date on research on your particular ailment that was published 1 hour ago. No human doctor could compete. And these AI doctors will work 24/7,365 days a year. No sick days, no training, no family drama to worry about while at work.....

      Do you think it's coincidence that the first widely available commercial application AI happens to be autonomous road vehicles? The transportation industry is the #1 industry in North America in terms of total number of people employed (truck drivers, taxi drivers, pizza delivery, etc.).

      Why do you think some governments have started experimenting with or looking into basic universal income?

      No point trying to predict the future. There are so many things playing out in so many different ways. Who knows what will be at the end.

      Recent research article says autonomous vehicles will be one of the last. It requires a huge infrastructure investment. The first ones will be engineers, lawyers and doctors. All you need is an app that translates natural language to designs, code, legal documents, prescriptions etc. It could use the existing infrastructure but with data center backend enhancements.

      • by dablow ( 3670865 )

        You are correct that there is no point in predicting the future, but it does not mean we should not give it any though and possibly prepare for some of the outcomes.

        For example take death; we all know we will die at some point in the future. But we do not know when. We just know it will happen at some point. Does that mean we should live life and pretend it is never going to happen? Or is it wiser to prepare one's will, pick out a burial plot and have all the preparations made ahead of time?

        Automation is re

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      As of yet, there is nothing inherently special about a human being that cannot be reproduced by machines.

      What on earth are you smoking?

      The present gap, on best available technology, is so staggeringly mind-rending it could serve as the third ring in Dante's Total Enlightenment Vortex.

      (Midway through the fifth ring—still reeling in shock from the fourth ring's ascendancy of green slime as fully revealed—the Pilgrim of Total Enlightenment receives a surprising and painful transcranial injection of

    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      They'll start with the low hanging fruit. Driving industry is looking juicy.

      > People seem to think that their job is somehow special, that they can never be replaced by a machine.
      I figure mine will last me a couple decades. Enough. I'll make it.

      Our grandkids are fucked.

      Here's Billy Brown. He's heard that everyone needs to be in the top 10% of the educated (does ANYONE see the bad math?) and needs to find a way to pay for hyperinflated education costs for his niche, specialized, exclusive skill
    • Do you think it's coincidence that the first widely available commercial application AI happens to be autonomous road vehicles?

      You're lumping a bunch of different fields together as if they are all "AI".

      Autonomous vehicles require computer vision.

      AI doctors most likely require natural language processing.

      Those are independent problems. It so happens we're making more progress on computer vision these days. Apparently it's an easier problem.

  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday January 16, 2017 @01:46PM (#53677513) Journal
    That sonofabitch has one hell of a nerve lecturing anyone about hubris.
  • that doesn't follow the laws of robotics.

    A robot will not harm authorized Government personnel but will terminate intruders with extreme prejudice.
    A robot will obey the orders of authorized personnel except where such orders conflict with the Third Law.
    A robot will guard its own existence with lethal antipersonnel weaponry, because a robot is bloody expensive.
  • It's all about corporate profit at the expense of natural people.
    Efficiencies allow reduced employment, but where do those people go ?
    The corporations don't care.
    It could be more people spending time improving society and general quality of life, arts, humanities, environment.
    Superfluous people go on the scrap heap.

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