Beware Of AI, The Robots Always Kill The Humans

2001: A Space Odyssey, Terminator, Aida of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the robots always want to take over in the end and kill the humans.

See below the meme on stupidity so I can get to the point.

Yes, this woman is an idiot. My robot vacuum is so stupid it doesn’t know where it’s going. I named it Jarvis after Ironman’s AI assistant (Paul Bettany). It is my dearest form of sarcasm. So the vacuum isn’t going to kill me, but that isn’t my point.

The AI in the wrong hands is dangerous though.

For example, what if an AI-bot creates vaccines for diseases by predicting what the next strain will be. What if the next strain is the one that causes humans to shut down all the robots. There you have the premise for how it goes with AI taking over. Kill the humans.

I could bore your with many other examples like using AI to enhance a soldiers armory. It would be controlling your actions, making you more invincible in war. If it sensed a danger that didn’t exist, it could fire up the code to kill everyone in the way and you have created a murderer out of an innocent man. Kill the humans.

Fortunately, I’ve been around AI development. That danger isn’t exactly around the corner yet.

I worked at IBM and knew that Watson was a gimmick. The Chairman told me it was. They are trying to sell it now because it’s usefulness in medicine paled in comparison to it winning Jeopardy. It was a lot of wasted money because they could to sum it up.

Some of the team have moved to Quantum Computing because Watson was a dud.

Microsoft, Google and Facebook are much different and apparently more evil. IBM is too bureaucratic to turn it into a killer robot. However, if you’ve read any of my social media rants, you know that I trust these three companies less than almost anything, except Congress and the media. I will say they are equally evil though. (Another shot for the censors to see if they are watching here). They are the ones that will kill the humans.

Now, imagine if it got into the wrong hands. What could some guys who want to either take over or blow up the world do with that kind of power? Those bastards are evil. At least the robots just went bad.

And there you have it. Like many things we can create, there is always someone hanging around to put it to bad use.

Was IBM’s Watson a Breakthrough or Very Cheap and Creative Advertising?

Update 1/8/14: Only $15 Million in sales for over $5 billion invested so far as IBM struggles to turn Watson into a business

The worst news in the above link is that companies like Google can do the the same for far less and that Watson doesn’t even work with other IBM technology.

Update: Watson is in the next publicity stunt with Wall Street as sales seem to be lagging.

As we all know, Watson appeared and won on Jeopardy last year.  It was the culmination of years of work and manpower to build a machine that could react faster and be programmed to win a game show.  It was brilliant, but more for promotion than technology sales (as evidenced so far).  There is little doubt that the promotional value was priceless to the IT industry and an easy calculation by IBM to one up the competition.

The two humans were limited to their capacity, whereas Watson was a massive computer with incredible storage and processing capability.  It was programmed specifically for the game, so while not a slam dunk, inevitability wasn’t in much doubt.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older, I forget things and computers don’t.  You can add memory, processors and build it big enough to recall more than any amount of humans.  Jeopardy had two champions,  so it wasn’t really a fair fight.  You ultimately can overpower any certain situation with billions in technology (which is what it cost to win), but throw something like emotion or nuance into a situation and computers are lost.

It was the perfect set up.  Everyone loves to root for the underdog even though the humans really fit that role.  It was accomplished by putting the biggest two winners ever on Jeopardy up against poor Watson.  The truth was that it never was going to be close given the confines of the rules of the game.  In real life, with unforeseen issues, the humans would have a fair chance.  That was never the point of Watson though.

IBM got to promote a research facility, executives, technology and almost a free ticket for three days.  Jeopardy also was a winner with dominant ratings.

I don’t want to debate the possibilities of Watson’s future contribution to technology other than stating that it is another step (and possibly direction)  in data analytics, and it increases the perception of IBM’s lead in this area (thanks to a lot of M&A and some folks that worked without getting enough credit).  It hasn’t been the breakthrough that companies have jumped on like an iPhone, yet billions of dollars have been spent on the same hardware used to build Watson since Jeopardy for traditional IT.  Time will tell.

ADVERTISING

For now, the real victory was exposure.  How much would it cost to purchase 1.5 hours of prime time advertising for a 3 day period where you basically get to change the rules of advertising to where you don’t even have to pretend that an ad agency was involved (also saving millions).  Here is the breakdown of advertising to program, but in reality the big IBM Watson Avatar is a commercial by itself every time Alex said the word Watson.

From a Mad Men point of view (advertising show for those who don’t know) this was a stroke of creative genius that began with winning a chess match against Gary Kasparov, then moving to prime time TV when new exposure was needed.  I saw people glued to their seats and talking about it the next day at a conference.  Nevertheless, it still has all the appearances of a publicity stunt. Unfortunately, it saddled IBM with a 2015 earnings projection claim that Palmisano left Gini Rometty to figure out.  With this economy, it has Sham’s chance of beating Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes to make it.

There will be claims that further technology is Watson legacy and success, but it is not what was intended by the efforts which related to making sure it beat the humans on Jeopardy.  That is supposed to come later.

CURING THE COMMON COLD

It has been suggested that Watson technology is being used to cure cancer.  I like others wish for this as I lost my mother to that disease.  Along with AIDS and the common cold, I have my doubts that we’ll really see this in our lifetime.  By then, trillions will be spent.  Like Global Warming, we could do more by helping to feed the starving and providing help and aid to millions.  This is not what Watson is about though last spring, it was the advertising win of 2010.

So the jury is out on whether it will succeed in medical or some other breakthrough.  For now, it was the promotional prime time win last year.

IBM Executives – Who are we? Rod Smith VP of Emerging Technology, SWG.

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Today, I’m once again very privileged to speak to another of the leading technologist’s at IBM. As with all these bloggerviews, I try to look at the person and their background rather than just a bits and bytes conversation. I trust you’ll find Rod to be as interesting and enjoyable to read about as I did speaking with him. I always look forward to these discussions with the deep thinkers of IBM, and it continues to give me confidence that we have some of the best and brightest working for our future.

What is your job title (and what does that really mean as far as your job,)?
VP, Emerging Technologies-Software Group – What I was put in place for 10 years ago at IBM was to scope out emerging internet technologies that could have impact with our customers through their adoption, say 18/24 months out initially. One very important factor here is developing proof of concepts with customers to iterate and validate the business value. The other important part of my role is how do we then help the product team embrace these areas and continue maturing these technologies to be successful with the customers.

A good example of this is AJAX. Our customers have been asking us for a richer internet experience that would help drive more business, not flashy marketing ads as some folks first think. They appear to want something that is open, broadly supported by many companies in our industry, based on open standards or de facto standards – thru the browser, be it FireFox or IE or Safari for example. We have collaborating recently with other vendors on how we could achieve these goals. In fact, this week we met with over 30 vendors in Open Ajax summit. We worked on things like how we can create a place that customers could choose our products and feel safe doing so.

How do you describe what you do to your family and those who don’t work in our industry?
Most of the time i say I’m a Software Engineer – although I wish I had real time to code. It’s a Midwestern or blue collar upbringing I guess; We generally understate our jobs.
I try and keep it simple.

I do tell them that I work on technologies which they might be using on their desktop in a few years. Sometimes I can point to some that they are using today.

Can you tell us some work experience that you want to tell, how did you get to where you are today?

In college, I majored in Economics and then backed into computers & software. I was doing some econometric/demographic modeling and thought that software was more interesting. I hung out with a crowd that was always on the bleeding edge of technology, For example, they were doing ASCII based animation on vector Tektronix terminals – processing ASCII strings is very CPU intensive and very hard to do. If five folks were driving these terminals simultaneously, we could bring a DEC system to it’s knees. Lots of fun!

So in this crowd, learning new programming languages & then showing off what you could do – was huge fun. Back then, you showed your stripes by how many you could program in – which probably early on established my interest in diverse, new technologies. Then when I joined IBM it was right when the PC was introduced in the marketplace – and as you can imagine lots of new software possibilities.

Here’s an small fact, I’m a big Apple fan. I still have a 128k MAC and a LISA that IBM that we convinced IBM to buy – at $10 grand no less.

So what does learning the Mac or Lisa have to do with my IBM career? It taught me to continually get out of my comfort zone keep learning things that might not appear to have direct, immediate career value. This eventually it turned out to be a big asset – both in terms of technologies and what worked or didn’t in the marketplace. That is what helped me think about technology differently – keep them in context to marketplace adoption. Additionally, as you can imagine (an IBMer at a Mac developer conference for example) I made many external connections. Some of those folks now are VPs or CTOs who I can call on for their advice, opinions and many times industry collaborations.

For what it’s worth, I’m still use an Apple today. Probably one of the few that carries it openly in Armonk.

What are your hobbies or fun stuff you want to discuss?
1. I’m a avid music fan. I wish I could say that I’m a decent musician, I used to play guitar many years ago but work & life got in the way. So I’ve begun relearning guitar playing and I really enjoy it. When i don’t travel, I practice a lot because I find that music is inspiring. I’m teaching myself jazz and blues and enjoy it immensely.

I listen to a podcast – The Roadhouse, the finest blues you’ve never heard – very good material.

2. I’m a digital photographer. When I went to the Galapagos Islands, I became a big Photoshop fan, Now I’m also a wannabee graphics artist – you just get hooked doing all those cool Photoshop tricks. That is one reason why my presentations are so visual – hopefully they’re informative – but I do it because I really hate to bore folks, which is easy to do if you’re not thinking in terms of what your audience finds interesting. I know I wouldn’t want to be bored so i want to try & keep audience engaged.

What are the biggest challenges at IBM?
That is a tough question. One answer I’d give is getting technology adopted in our products. Our teams have hard, measured and valued requirements from our customers. I often challenge our team to work with customers early on to demonstrate our value of a technology, then build relationships with product champions, if you will, that can help understand & implement the customer needs.I don’t like to promote technology for technology’s sake. I want to do it in the context of it’s potential business value. This is where my discussions with analysts and reporters come into play to understand if it has or will have business or customer value.

Then, if we are right – then we rely on some luck and what we call demand pull – our product teams read the publications or analyst reports and then come to me and to talk about the opportunity.

Bottom line, if have decent enough insights into how technology will grow in adoption, but failed to get it into products, it doesn’t help IBM. Our loss.

Let me say that our products teams do listen, that is what differentiates us from competitors. They are excellent on execution.

Describe your relationship with analysts, how do they help you?

It’s easy as a technologist to drink your own kool-aid. When I talk to analysts about emerging technology, I want to hear their unencumbered thoughts back to me which are objective. I want to know, am I off or am I close?

I know that Analysts hear from customers. There can be communication gaps between what think customer want and what customers are really saying. Analyst’s help me articulate & clarify the customer & business value. I also find they help me with clear messages to customers. They are good report card on whether I’m on the right track or not.

I value analysts thoughts & opinions a lot. I listen and if i don’t understand something they’ve said, I stop and dig in to internalize their value before I move on with either the messaging or the product.. Web services is an example – they helped in validating this technology direction that’s now blossomed into SOA. I remember doing a keynote interview with Daryl Plummer in 2001 on web services – a spur of the moment decision in front of 1200 folks – most of who had very little idea why they should interested! Daryl and I did an hour regarding the value towards lowering integration costs and new business opportunities; it was the first big talk on subject – before any of the technical conference picked it up. We got tremendous feedback from the audience.

Since analysts read this, what would you like to say to them about what you are doing right now?
Web 2.0 technology is starting to generate interest from customers – Ajax, Atom, Microformats, tagging and REST. Analyst see broader value of Web 2.0 and how enterprises are going to be writing applications in the future.

What is the next big announcement or product you are working on that you can talk about?
For mashups – we are working on mashup makers, we hope. We are using wiki technology to show how Mashup Maker can be used right to a browsers to assemble information. This is an area which is starting to evolve from infancy and we are going to continue exploring. Here’s an example of results from using this technology.

Weather Movie
Hardware, My Projects Movie

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming years, either product wise or how you will work differently?
I’m excited about Skype & Gizmo especially around their toolkits. We need richer way of communicating, Audio and video conferencing still ties our hand behind our back. We need a richer environment where I can stay home and can have such a richer experience to work with people. It could save hours or days and improve my productivity to stay home instead of being on an airplane and then I could have the same impact.

IBM Bloggers, Who are we – Grady Booch

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As always, I really like doing these bloggerviews, this one especially. A lot of it is because I get to talk to some of the smartest people at IBM and in this case, the industry. For as much as he’s done, Grady has the right to enjoy celebrity status being an IBM fellow and a leader in the IT world, yet he is very down to earth and we had a very enjoyable conversation. I know you’ll enjoy reading this as much as I did learning from him.

A bit of history, when we first thought of the concept of the developerWorks Blog, the discussion came up that we needed blogger of rock star status to gain notoriety. The first name that came up was Grady. I knew when I started my blog, that this was one of the discussions I wanted to have, now you can too.
Note: Grady is hosting a blogger meetup at the Rational Users Conference June 6th from 6-8 pm, see you there.

Were you a rebel as a kid?
In a different way. I built my first computer from scratch when I was 12. I had borrowed a book called Computer Design, and used it as a manual to create my first computer. I saved my allowance to buy discrete transistors and so I built from scratch. My parents didn’t really know how to deal with me. In addition to the computers, I built my own laser and I was into model rockets. You could say I was a classical geek. In fact, I was a geek before it was cool to be a geek.

I built my computer because I really wanted to program. The computer did four function math and had 256 bits of memory. I thought it would be cool to program so before high school I wanted a job in computers and I went knocking on doors of all the local computer companies, to no avail. I then went to the local IBM sales office and a sales guy sat with me at a lunch table and gave me a book on Fortran. He probably thought that I would go away after reading it, but a week later, I came back with some programs I’d written and I asked for computer time. He got time for me on weekends on an IBM 1130 used by the Amarillo Public Utilities. My first program was a simulation of particles colliding at subatomic speed and a calculation of the release of energy. I still have the original deck of cards. Perhaps the one event that started me on computers was an article in Life magazine about a robot named Shaky built by Marvin Minsky. A few years ago, I approached the trustees at the Computer History Museum in California, urging them to also become a museum of software. While I was getting a tour of the emerging facility, John Toole told me to turn around too look at the original Shakey, sitting in a display behind me. That was so cool and it gave me a pleasant sense of closure.

One thing that my friends and their children are surprised at is these days that I always knew that I wanted to be a computer scientist.

How did your military career help you with what you do now?
So I was self taught until I went to the Air Force Academy. I had many scholarship offers including West Point, but chose USAFA because they had an incredible computer science program. Also, I knew that when I graduated, I would be involved with some amazing technology in the real world from which I could learn. Some of the things I did in my first assignment was to help build systems in support of missile programs such as the Minuteman, Titan and Shuttle. One of the last things I did was work on a range safety system for both the West and East coast military ranges. Through this work, in my early 20’s, I learned what it means to build complex systems. We had hundred’s of thousands of lines of code, running on distributed computers, and so the issues of scale and complexity hit me early.

I’m proud to report that in 1979 I had my first email address on the Arpanet..

Around that time, I was also doing some Ada work and got involved as an instructor at USAFA. I was asked by Larry Druffle who was involved with the Ada Joint Program Office and later went on to found the Software Engineering Institute to consider how one would apply modern software techniques to Ada. It at through this work that I coined the phrase object oriented design.

It has been a long journey for me with in complex software, far before it was an issue in industry.

You say on your blog that you like to read. What interests you in your book selection?

My book listings on my site are mostly professional books. I have a spreadsheet includes all the books and journals I read there. Frankly, one of the reasons I built my current home is that wife and I ran out of space for our over 8,000 books.

I enjoy writers who are good story tellers like Michael Chabon and Terry Pratchet. Right now I’m reading Wuthering Heights, and I just finished reading a book on the history of Islam and another on prayer. I’m attracted to authors who have a command of the language, such as Umberto Eco, and I try to learn from them. As a result, I think I’m a curious combination of a geek albeit an articulate one.

I read more nonfiction than fiction. I like history, especially covering medieval and renaissance periods. In fact I play the Celtic harp.

Why did you become a blogger and How did/does that affect your job?
I started blogging before IBM asked me to. It happened in conjunction with the handbook on software architecture I decided to write. Being involve as a software architect in a multitude of systems in various industries across the world, I wanted to fill a serious gap in the body of knowledge of software engineering, by codifying the architectural patterns that are used in the world. I realized it then that it would be a journey instead of a discrete issue, so thus the blog as a forum for discussion during that journey.

So I began the blog but I couldn’t find any software out there that did what I wanted, so I wrote my own blogging software so I could work on the Handbook anywhere in world. I added an RSS feed to push XML to the IBM developerWorks site, so now it posts to both that site and mine..

What blogs do you read?
This will certainly reflect my political views, but I read crooksandliars.com. Slashdot is also a must have. My Handbook site lists the many that I read from time to time.

Do you like Sci-Fi, for example are you a trekkie?
Yes actually, in my office every copy of Star Trek, the Next Generation, episode so you could say I’m a trekker.

What are your favorite video games?
This is interesting as I just came back from a gamer convention. I just finished Halo 2, and am currently stuck inside the gates of hell in Quake 3. All things being equal, though, I’d rather read a good book.

Speaking of the game community, I’m attracted to it because this is an industry that’s really discovering the problems of building complex software.

Your job Title is IBM Fellow, but what does that mean to the man on the street

It means two things. My role as a Fellow is to invent the future and to destroy bureaucracy, I’m a designated free radical for IBM, and it’s my job to disturb the norm, to think outside of the box, to make people uncomfortable with the status quo, plus have I have a license to do so. It is to IBM’s organizational credit that it recognizes it needs such people.

If you weren’t an IBM fellow, what other job would you be doing, or what company would you be working for?
Now there is an interesting question. I’d probably be an poor itinerate musician or a priest. Baring those more radical career choices, I’d otherwise still be in the software world, doing the same things as I am doing now. My professional passion is how to improve and reduce the distance between vision and execution in delivering complex software-intensive systems.

What are you working on now?
I work on many things, some I can talk about, most I can’t. The Handbook is an important project for me, I spend a lot of time with customers, I help to manage Rational’s relationship with IBM research, and that involves me in efforts about radical simplification and what to do when Moore’s law dies.

What do you talk to Sam Palmisano about?

I don’t talk to Sam that much – he runs the business and I’m essentially a geek – but I do work with Nick Donofrio who works directly for Sam, We talk about various customer engagements, improving industry/academic relationships, and various issues of technical strategy.

What is your vision of the future, next year, 5 years 20 years?

Software has been, and will be always be fundamentally hard, In the future, we’ll be facing yet greater complexity . Open source, the commodization of operating systems and middleware, disposable software (that which is created by non developers), the presence of pervasive devices are elements of this growing complexity. Furthermore, the world is flat. No political or geographical boundaries limit creativity and complexity in software-intensive systems, and thus it’s also increasingly a problem of collaboration.

How long do you see yourself doing what you do now?

Until my heart stops beating.

What is your relationship with analysts? What would you say to them?

I have an A/R handler, I go where they tell me to go, What i talk about though is where I spend my time, namely worrying about the future, the primary horizon being 3-5 years out, with consideration of the forces that are morphing us.hat we need to get us there.

If you could write your legacy, what would it be?
There is a question I’ve never been asked before. How about “he’s not dead yet.”

Seriously through, I hope people will have viewed me as kind and gentle man who lived fully.

Everything else is just details.

What’s on your iPod?
Surprisingly, I don’t have and iPod, but I do have 9 Macs along with a Google Mini and two terabytes of storage, on which I’ve ripped all my music. I’m currently listening to Adiemus, , Dead Can Dance, Tori Amos, Loreena McKinnett, and Twila Paris.

What is the final frontier for users?
It’s curious what we do as software developers: at its best, be build things that are invisible. If we do it right, our work evaporates into the background and remains unnoticed, yet still providing socially and individually useful functionality.

IBM Research Resources through alphaWorks

Research topics

alphaWorks is known for launching emerging technologies. With the research topics, we are offering a collection of resources – technology downloads, demos, articles, and resources – to help build awareness and understanding about an emerging topic.

It’s one of the few places in IBM you would actually want to go and yet might find something useful and interesting.

Research Resources

Don’t miss the opportunity to peek into the window of research through alphaWorks.

alphaWorks, the window to IBM Research

There have been many announcements on the maturing workforce issues lately. I’ll spare you the gory details, but these guys have a lot of skills and knowledge that is both going away and needs to be transferred.

They are also getting older. I’ve noticed a few aches and pains I didn’t use to have, but nothing like those with accessibility issues, who are both young and old.

Saying something and doing something about it are two different things. The coolest place in IBM is the research labs. They don’t lead the world year after year in patents for nothing, they make great products there.

Yesterday, three alphaWorks technologies were announced to help those with accessibility issues. The headpointer, keyboard optimizer and mouse smoother.

Head Pointer

Accessibility

Keyboard Optimizer

Mouse Smoothing

Let me make the connection for you between alphaWorks and IBM Research. alphaWorks is the Software window to the research labs.

The Head-Tracking Pointer provides an inexpensive and easily-used mouse replacement for those unable to use traditional pointing devices. Using only software and any Web-cam, this application allows users to point and click with character-level accuracy by simply aiming their face.

Now stuff like this is cool, reminds me of the heads up display on fighter jets, or interpreting thoughts in the Clint Eastwood movie FireFox.

IBM and Cool in the same sentence, Gaming

The marketing at some companies is really cool. You look at it and say wow, or you can imagine yourself going 196 MPH in that Porsche, maybe you see yourself rocking to your favorite tunes from your iPod. By contrast, other companies are stoic about marketing and plod along, which is ok for water heaters or area rugs.

IBM is in between, and shouldn’t be. I don’t ever imagine myself driving 196 mph in a mainframe computer, but sometimes you look at a product and say this is great, but somehow it doesn’t come off that way.

The under told story is that IBM makes some of the coolest products in our industry. Most folks don’t know it, but if they ever took a look at the products and design from IBM Research, you’d say I’d like to have one of these and you’d feel way cool about showing it off. Now, it would be nice to have shark storage capability in an iPod, but that would be difficult to wear on my belt, but I digress. The under told story is that we are in some great area’s like gaming.

IBM makes the processors for all the game boxes…GameCube, Xbox and PS2. You might say so what, but with those names you cover the majority of the non handheld gaming business. I have a teenager, so games are a part of my life without me having a say in the matter. I know that it’s a market with upside potential for sales and design…there are lots of teenagers and preteens with an insatiable appetite for video games. I ask, how many of these boxes are being sold and how many are going to be sold this upcoming Christmas?

Read about it at the Gamer Blog . Maybe you won’t be jazzed like playing “From Dirt to Daytona” but hey, IBM and cool are in the same sentence – the engine driving the game is ours. Maybe they’ll blog about virtual reality gaming soon, I don’t know. If you’re old enough to remember the movie “Lawnmower Man”, I know I could get amped to play in VR, and would like to know about it when it’s close to my home.

P.S. I’m going to talk more about Research sometime in the future because some of the most fantastic stuff you can imagine is there. IBM helped take man to the moon in the 60’s, and it’s come a long way since then.

Epilogue: It went nowhere as IBM left the chip business.  IBM and cool were never really in the same sentence.  Think of the blue suit, white shirt and red tie.  That is a better vision of reality.