‘This Isn’t AI’

Terence Eden, on trying to get his Amazon Echo to respond to a custom query:

I kinda thought that Amazon would hear “solar panels” and work out the rest of the query using fancy neural network magic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The developer has to manually code every single possible permutation of the phrase that they expect to hear.

This isn’t AI. Voice interfaces are the command line. But you don’t get tab-to-complete.

Amazon allow you to test your code by typing rather than speaking. I spent a frustrating 10 minutes trying to work out why my example code didn’t work. Want to know why? I was typing “favourite” rather than the American spelling. Big Data my shiny metal arse.

A voice interface that’s as rigid as the command line can still be very useful, but he’s right — it isn’t AI. (Via Charles Arthur.)

Wednesday, 3 May 2017