Toward a Better Definition of AI in Internet Communications  ( Feburary, 2018)

Presenters, participants, and other thought leaders kept throwing out the topic AI at the recent Street Fight conference in L.A. We all know what we mean when we say “artificial intelligence,” right?

Well, no: It looks like we use AI, the abbreviation for the phrase for the concept as a catch-all for an idea we haven’t really defined yet.

Under broad scrutiny, AI stands for “that thing we do with computer data manipulation that is somehow more complicated than layering algorithms onto data structures.”

We would probably agree on the definition of machine learning: the condition in which we program a program to program itself based on its interactions in the world. We would probably agree further that such a mechanism as machine learning, while a component of AI, is not in itself the defining characteristic of AI.

So are we left with another cloud? A black box? Or, ugh, a single line continuum with, say, a TRS-80 at one end and a self-aware neural network entity at the other?



Building AI through Conversational Local Search  (LinkedIn: January, 2018)

…wherein we weave a narrative integrating Andy Griffith, hoverbikes, Skynet, Futurama, and Star Trek.

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Climb Out of the Uncanny Valley for Voice Everywhere (LinkedIn: March, 2018)

It’s a state of mind and not an actual place, but images from the Uncanny Valley haunt me to this day. Masahito Mori described the phenomenon of human interaction with robots (humanoids) and associated quasi-human entities 40 years ago in a psychological context.

Some of the discussion of the Uncanny Valley from decades ago no longer resonates. We’re still xenophobic as a species, but we’re less likely to label a differently-colored, -attired, or -abled person as uncanny. We’ve outgrown some of our bias against, for example, prosthetics, and that’s good. But we still have some discomfort

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Six Guidelines for the Path to Voice Everywhere ( March, 2018)

I recently complained that we need friendly AI in the model of the computer on Star Trek. This friendly AI underlies the concept of “voice everywhere,” which is driving product and engineering teams in technology across the world.

Street Fight is well educated on the topic of voice everywhere, and we frequently see articles and posts about how voice is changing marketing, searching, branding and advertising. We seem to agree that, whatever our desires and opinions of voice’s application to everything, voice interaction is the best possible future of search and plays an intrinsic role in our interactions with local content.

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