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DSC Weekly 30 May 2023 – The consumer AI knowledge gap


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Artificial intelligence

The consumer AI knowledge gap

There’s a considerable knowledge gap between non-technical end users and developers when it comes to what AI is, how it works, and current applications. For most, AI algorithms and data processing techniques are a mysterious, artificial brain that interprets data in a way that mimics the human mind. With the explosion of consumer-accessible AI on the market in the first half of 2023, the hype has been immeasurable. And with massive amounts of hype, comes a massive amount of snake oil.

My canary for determining the “next big thing” has been extremely reliable. Whenever my mother starts to ask questions, I know this information has saturated the public’s attention. She asked me about GameStop stock and Bitcoin in 2021, and Dogecoin shortly after. I didn’t even know where to start with NFTs. Now in 2023, she’s asking about AI programs that can predict the stock market and various companies with ‘AI-powered’ technology.

The significant gap between what AI tools are currently doing and what the public thinks AI tools are capable of allows for imaginations to run wild. Pop culture depictions like HAL 9000, The Terminator, and the droids of Star Wars have given us expectations for what to expect when we see AI. We expect that they are sentient and capable of complex thought akin to a human mind, so when we see ChatGPT regurgitating information back to us in a coherent manner, we think there’s something human-like behind its eyes. And for many, that dream of a sentient robotic companion is being sold to us.

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DSC Weekly 30 May 2023 – The consumer AI knowledge gap