Wednesday, April 27, 2016

No Artificial Intelligence Added

Last week, I was partying like it was 1999 (R.I.P. Prince) by reading a print edition of “Fortune” Magazine. I came across a short interview with Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. (Note – the link is to the online version of the interview, which features different questions and answers than the print version.)

In the interview, Huang discussed the future of incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into automobile design. He mentioned how difficult it is going to be to get car manufacturers to change a very deeply ingrained mindset.

Huang says: “The auto industry is about assembling mechanical things that become a car. It is not as comfortable with the idea of an empty vessel for which we develop software over the next 10 years. A living thing that becomes more useful over time is a very alien concept in a mechanical world.”

Sadly, I think the approach to services in our field, the field of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), too often is closer to that of the auto industry than that of the AI field. We tend to think in terms of health and safety, of maintenance. We don’t focus nearly as much as we should on the possibilities, the learning, the evolving and moving forward.

We need to turn that focus around. AI and related technologies are doorways to supports that foster lifelong learning, exploration, and creativity, irrespective of one’s cognitive abilities. I’d like to see much more thought and effort directed towards creating a service delivery system geared toward a life fully lived, not one that is merely survived. AI is one way to get there. Who’s ready to take that journey with me?

Then again, what do I know?

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