This is a viewpoint from Mike Slone, chief experience officer for Travelaer.. The technology revolution today – led by artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML) etc, is like an awkward adolescent trying to make its way in the world.

Many of today’s leading edge technologies will mature and become part of the business mainstream, others will struggle to cope. The analogy with adolescence works, to an extent, but one related area of concern is the historical tendency to apply generic, traditional human terms to very specific machine advances.

This can confuse matters and skew expectations. For example, a chatbot is not really able to “chat”, except in a very limited sense, while”deep learning” only means that an artificial neural network has several hidden layers which are not nearly as deep as one would assume.

It is a trend that is coming back to bite us. First, let’s address language and history.

The words “intelligence”, “language” and “learning” are what the late AI pioneer Marvin Minsky called “suitcase-like jumbles of different ideas”. These jumbles have different meanings for different people, and some often have deep historical context, which conflates things further. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of