We Hype Artificial Intelligence But How Good Are Non-AI Solutions?

There is a lot of hype for the accomplishments of Artificial Intelligence. Nextbigfuture keeps you up to date about the achievements made in AI. Two hours ago Nextbigfuture published what IBM has done with AI.

at some point in the early twenty-first century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence…. …as we gave birth…to A.I. Morpheus from the Matrix.

Latest Advanced AI Solution Versus Twenty-Year Old Technology

Waze and Google Maps use a lot of Artificial Intelligence and real-time updates to provide the best driving instructions. They are useful products and provide good value.

What did we have twenty years ago and what is the difference?

Mapquest in the late 1990s or Yahoo maps worked pretty decently. They sometimes messed up on the route but you were getting a pretty good route. It did not have real-time traffic updates. Bad traffic updates came from radio reports. Radio stations had traffic helicopters and listeners phoned in reports.

Mapquest was clearly superior to paper maps. There was a huge leap in certain situations. Although even paper maps and memorizing how to get places works. If you have never made the drive and were not familiar with the area then you would need maps. You would plan out the route. I would use paper maps maybe twice a year. You would use them on long road trips mainly.

The other driving solution is to ask someone who knew how to get someplace how to get there. This would be done before you start the drive. How many further questions would be asked might vary depending upon your gender. There is a difference between most men and most women.

I used to have a regular long commute for a 30-mile drive. I had this commute every day for seven years. I already had the Waze and Google Map options. However, there were only three practical highway options and two ways to get to the highway and two main ways to get off the highway. In general one route was the best 80% of the time. Waze could add value if there was horrible traffic. It could offer up a complex route on surface streets as an alternative to avoid a traffic jam. This happened maybe twenty times in a year because of Bay Area traffic. The route was worth taking maybe 10 times in a year. There were actually only two main off the beaten path routing options. After they were each driven twice, then I knew what they were and when I might use them. They were an alternative route onto one of the highways in order to get out of Oakland and another was an alternative path through Hayward to avoid problems on the 880 or 580.

The two decades old AI or software was getting to an 85-90% solution and a good approximation answer.

Waze uses a lot of AI but its alternative routing may not work great. Waze with its AI and real-time information can direct drivers to single lane surface streets to theoretically gain two minutes. But they could send too many cars down this “better” route and suddenly they created a Waze traffic jam on a single lane road.

Yes, computing power went up a lot. AI and software got a lot better but there was a best non-AI or low-AI alternative. The non-AI or low-AI alternative may not be that far off optimal.

There are other technological solutions and advancement that can vastly move the needle towards better solutions.

We now have drones and better cameras. This can be used to act like 1000 traffic helicopters for the same cost. There is some AI in the control software of the drones. However, stationary cameras on tall poles, trees and buildings would not need AI to fly. A lot of stationary cameras works too.

Simple control software could have a drone fly up and then hover in place.

Even Elon Musk Says Too Much Robotics is Not Always Best

Elon says humans are underrated. He was talking in the context of robots and automation in factories. There is AI for robots and AI in automation.

Self-driving cars will be where AI can make a huge difference versus human driving. It will save lines and allow more cars to safely drive on existing roads. It will save a lot of money and grow the economy.

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