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The Hype Outome: FAKE AI


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Relentless hype about the rise of AI has been gradually coming to an ignominous end, as all hype is wont to do. "The sky is falling" hype articles have been telling us all about the imminent takeover by AI and the demise of humanity as a result. It was hype of course, and meanwhile, wherever there is hype, you can bet there are clever grifters who make money on the hype - and just as with biomedical startups, Silicon Valley has been busy making mint on the hype. Only now the chickens are coming to roost, and the startups can't deliver on the AI hype. So a comical turn of events has come about - in order to make AI seem to work, the startups are turning to real flesh and blood human beings who have to work as if they are bots and AI machines to perpetuate the scam:


The rise of 'pseudo-AI': how tech firms quietly use humans to do bots' work


"Using what one expert calls a ‘Wizard of Oz technique’, some companies keep their reliance on humans a secret from investors"


"How to start an AI startup

1. Hire a bunch of minimum wage humans to pretend to be AI pretending to be human

2. Wait for AI to be invented"


"It’s hard to build a service powered by artificial intelligence. So hard, in fact, that some startups have worked out it’s cheaper and easier to get humans to behave like robots than it is to get machines to behave like humans."


What's the next wave of hype and money making opportunity that will excite the excitable? Be on the lookout! And always remember: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof. It's usually in the "proof" department that is lacking, while the "claim" department is going gangbusters. I nominate the hype around CRISPR as the next big con. A technology that is useful at the margins, but nowhere near (like universes apart) from the overexcited hype of life-changing revolutions.



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Exactly right. The Turk is a kind of fraud of "fake AI" as perpetrated by fraudsters back in the old days. But there is a further irony - Amazon has a service called Mechanical Turk, which basically allows you to buy for very little money, cheap work, like 10 cents an hour that very desperate/broke people are willing to do all over the world, where you need say, data entry etc. And here is the irony: some of these Silicon Valley fake AI startups are using the Mechanical Turk service from Amazon as their human back end that's supposedly AI - so they are using something that has reference to a fake history itself (Mechanical Turk). 

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