What ancient advice can teach us about AI.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have become indispensable to millions of users. Tesla Autopilot has the potential to change driving forever. And IBM Watson took a new job providing big data solutions to corporations after its first job was in jeopardy.
Those are just the most prominent examples. Helpful applications of AI are being deployed in a broad spectrum of industries, but AI also has the potential to be misused.
Zenfolio, the website builder and photo-sharing site, recently introduced technology that applies AI to assist photographers in selecting the best photos from the thousands of shots typically taken during a photo session. The advanced image recognition technology is tremendously powerful and can make photographers more efficient than they ever dreamed.
When exploring the best way to roll out AI to the photography community, Zenfolio had some fascinating discussions about corporate responsibility generally, and its obligations specifically.
The concept of AI was theorized centuries ago by Greek philosophers, with myths about Talos and Pandora creating chaos and destruction.
Perhaps these cautionary tales about artificial beings influence our thinking today. While the ancient Greeks would no doubt have been amused by the rudimentary nature of philosophical discourse at Zenfolio, the advantage the company had were discussions based on actual implementations, not merely theoretical pondering (and the team wore more practical clothing, to boot).
Artificial Intelligence contributes to efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in ways the early Greeks could not have imagined. It has evolved to be capable of language processing, optical recognition, and human interaction.
Yet, there are positive and negative aspects to consider surrounding the responsible deployment of AI.
The photography industry is generating exponentially more images than ever thanks to digital cameras and the best photo editors. Photographers need to be more efficient and productive in the time-consuming process of finding the best images out of thousands.
AI can analyze large amounts of data and perform specific functions, getting faster and more accurate as it learns, usually when fine-tuned by a human.
Since each photographer has a unique style and relies on their creative eye to characterize their work, it's important to establish a model where AI can assist in a specifically defined task, yet leave ultimate creative control in the hands of the photographer.
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