You Ask, I Answer: Biggest Misconception about Marketing AI?

Paul asks, “What do you think is the biggest misconception about AI?”

Something I say in all my keynotes: AI is math, not magic. There’s no magic here. AI is just the application of mathematics to data at a very large scale.

In turn, that means AI can’t do things that fundamentally aren’t math at their core. When we do NLP, that turns words into math. When we recognize an image, that turns pixels into math. Something fundamentally non-math, like emotions, is out of reach of AI.

It also means AI can’t do anything not in its training data.

AI is narrow in scope and task right now because the math of one situation can be quite different from another. Artificial general intelligence is a long way off still.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

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In today’s episode, Paul asks, What do you think is the biggest misconception about AI? Oh, there’s so many to choose from.

Fundamentally, and this is something that I say in all the keynote talks I give on the topic.

At its core AI is math, not magic.

It is just the application of advanced mathematics to data at a very large scale.

When you decompose major algorithms and all these really cool techniques, you’re still just doing math.

Something like for example, extreme gradient boosting, at the end of the day, boils down to some filtering, and regression.

Statistical regression, it’s very well done.

It is execute on data that is far beyond human capacities to do.

But it’s still just math.

And it’s relatively simple math at that, once you get past all the distillation pass all the the gradient descent and stuff like that.

take away all of the mystique, and you’re left with a pile of math.

And that makes Ai no different in many ways and other mathematical tools that were used to like calculators and spreadsheets.

Right? If you think about AI is a spreadsheet and just a really, really fancy one.

Then you suddenly it does take away the mystique and the the cool factor, right? Oh, it’s just like a spreadsheet.

But then you think okay, what are the limitations of spreadsheets? They can’t do things that aren’t math.

I guess you could In, do some limited things and some like cute illustrations and maybe a table of non math data.

But at the end of the day, it still is a computation engine.

And that’s what AI is, which means that AI can’t do things that are not fundamentally math at their core.

If you take the advanced techniques that exist in AI, natural language processing, at its core, it’s it’s still math, you take words, assign numbers to them, and then do math on the numbers.

And that’s what natural language processing is.

It’s one of the reasons why, even though some of the models out there like GPT-2, or distill or Excel net, or all these things are so cool, and can autocomplete paragraphs or even documents.

There’s still just doing math, they’re still doing probability.

And it’s one of the reasons why if you were to type in, you know, two plus two equals the words into all these things, they’re going to predict An outcome that shows they don’t have any actual understanding of the words.

They’re just doing math on probability.

And so you end up with some pretty lame examples of, of how these things can’t reason they can’t understand truly.

The math is just doing forecasting and prediction, statistical probability.

If I write the words, you know, what do you believe about, it’s going to come up with probabilities about what the next word in that sentence is going to be for the next sentence.

When you do image recognition, it’s trending pixels in a math and tactically pixel already math.

There’s, if you look at a sensor on a camera, a digital camera, there are three color sensors on each pixel.

And they’re either lit up or they’re not lit up.

And again, it’s mathematics.

And so when you’re recognizing an image or looking for a face in a video or brand new Go still just mathematics.

Even the most advanced image recognition algorithms functionally are like, distillers.

I explained this in one of my keynotes as well, if you were to take all that image data and boil down to a pattern that the machine can recognize, in many ways, it’s no different than taking a bunch of, you know, grain mash and stuff like that or beer and distilling it over and over again until you get whiskey.

Right.

That’s what deep learning is.

It’s distillation of data.

It’s not anything magical.

All this means that something that is fundamentally non mathematical in nature, like emotion or reasoning, or even logic, human logic machine logic is fundamentally out of reach of today’s AI machine cannot understand How you feel it can make probabilistic guesses about the words that you use to describe your emotions, but it cannot feel it cannot understand.

And therefore it can’t do things like empathy.

Because it’s simply a non mathematical thing, at least with today’s technology.

Now, that may change in the years ahead when we do have access to vastly larger amounts of computing with stuff like quantum computing, but this is still years off.

From today, as I record this, when we understand that AI is nothing more than a spreadsheet, it also means we understand that AI can’t do anything not in its training data, right? If you don’t put it in the data to for the AI to learn from, it can’t create it, it can’t create something from nothing.

Now, if you have some of these really large models like the GPT tos of the world, they’ve trained on a tremendous amount of text and so much more than a single human could ever learn in their lifetime.

And that’s where Uc AI seemingly creating things they create, because they have a much larger knowledge base to draw from.

But they’re not creating anything new.

They can’t create something that is never been seen before.

All of AI is currently what’s called narrow, narrow and applications focused on a specific task.

Because creating a general purpose AI, or artificial general intelligence.

There’s no model for life.

Not today.

There may be at some point, but if you think about back to the math example, if you’ve got a spreadsheets all decked out to do accounting, and you try and get that spreadsheet without making substantial adaptations to do calorie counting, even though they’re both math, they’re very different tasks, and they use very different formulas underneath.

And so you can see how, how difficult it would be to make a spreadsheet that could easily do calorie counting and five ads and virus prediction and ROI of marketing, it will be so difficult to come up with a model that was universal though.

We don’t have that capability in machines.

We have it as humans, because our brains are massive parallel computers.

But machines can’t do that.

So, when we talk about misconceptions people have about AI.

It is fundamentally that it is not a system of magic.

It can’t create something that doesn’t exist.

And it can’t do things it wasn’t trained to do for the most part outside of a specific domain.

It’s math, not magic.

Good question.

We could go on for quite some time about this topic.

So let’s leave it at that.

If you have follow up questions about it or you have misconceptions of your own, or think you believe that are your own and that you would like some clarification on leave in the comments here.

Be happy to do follow up questions on this topic about more specifics.

misconceptions and AI.

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