Top 4 Moments Which Made Us Question Artificial Intelligence

Explore the phrase ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and you are presented with an array of remarkable achievements and optimistic outlooks. Although, amongst headlines sensationalising Uber’s Flying Cars by 2020, there are also occasional articles which propagate a very dystopian future – one with rogue machines and a new world order (think ‘Terminator’ or ‘I, Robot’!). Nevertheless, there have also been moments in the past when Artificial Intelligence hasn’t quite lived up to its last name.

A dispute between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg on the topic was arguably the most entertaining, if not the most memorable debates of last year. Zuckerberg remained a strong proponent of a future in which AI would be to us as Alfred is to Bruce Wayne. Surprisingly, Elon Musk rather voiced the possibility of AI posing a ‘fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation’. At one point, Musk even demeaned Zuckerberg’s knowledge on the subject as ‘limited’!

AI Musk Zuckerberg

Mind you, drawing credibility as two of the brightest minds in the industry, either of the scenarios could be a real possibility. Nonetheless, here are some AI blunders which may push both CEO’s to reconsider their positions:

Siri vs. Sheeple

Among other things, 2017 reminded us that petty rivalry was not exclusive to the Kardashians but also applied to mobile operating systems – yes, that’s right, iOS versus Android. The term ‘sheeple’ was officially entered into the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary along with a sentence delicately showcasing the use of the word:

“Apple’s debuted a battery case for the juice-sucking iPhone—an ungainly lumpy case the sheeple will happily shell out $99 for. —Doug Criss”

Regardless, while Apple may not be pioneers in the full sense of the word, they have found undeniable success through being the first few to commercialise a functionable product to the mass. One such product was their voice activated personal assistant, Siri. Although, when it was first introduced, Siri was far from the fluid AI we know it to be today. Here’s a screencap to explain:

Top Siri fail

In the unlucky event that this really happened, all we can do is to hope ‘An Ambulance’ managed to get to the hospital on time.

‘Systematic’ Racism

Our next AI could have established itself as a contender to our favourite demagogue, Donald Trump, in racist commentary. Although a different type of back-end, the competition also somehow found itself in position dealing with the internal affairs of a country.

In 2016, Richard Lee, a citizen of New Zealand of Asian descent was the butt of a racist joke when his passport could not be validated. As it turned out, the Department of Internal Affairs had recently implemented a facial recognition software to verify that submitted photos met the required parameters. And the reason for rejection? You guessed it – ironically, the software rejected Lee’s photo on the basis that his eyes were closed!

Funny AI mistakes


The next AI resembles the epitome of what we can achieve when we are graced by boredom and free time. According to their website Inspirobot is an AI created with the purpose of:

generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence

If the description sounds ridiculous already, the ‘inspirational’ quotes which the AI churns out are even more so! While the algorithms may not be programmed with a serious conviction, the disorienting combination of images and generated text make for a pleasurable time. Here are a few favourites of ours:

Funny motivational quotes

Microsoft’s Millennial

If Hollywood has managed to teach us anything, it’s that machines and sentience never fail to churn out postmodern themed blockbusters. Not so shockingly, sticking to the theme of this article, Microsoft managed to prove them wrong.

Early 2016 saw the release of ‘Tay AI’ which was Microsoft’s attempt at a creating a sentient machine. An AI-based chatbot, Tay was supposedly programmed to learn the language and conversational patterns of millenials on Twitter and eventually replicate it.

‘The official account of Tay, Microsoft’s A.I. fam from the internet that’s got zero chill! The more you talk the smarter Tay gets.’

It’s safe to say that there was no shortage of training material, but neither was there any content moderation. Millennials, being millennials, exploited Tay’s learning capabilities ingraining racist and inflammatory responses. Within 16 hours of Tay’s release, she was taken down for some serious adjustments – Microsoft was only late by around 96,000 tweets spewing with profanity, anti-semitism, and neo-nazism (downright nasty). Here are a few blog-friendly tweets from our ‘zero chill’ millennial:

Twitter rage bot AI Mexico rant

While this article has made a point in mocking the handful of times artificial intelligence was at its lowest, it is also important to recognise the extent of AI capabilities which can change the world for the better – read our blogpost on this!

In several of such cases, the mistakes can often be reduced down to a lack of quality training data – Siri needed data to gauge the context of the request, the facial recognition AI needed to learn from processing similar faces, and Tay literally exemplified the saying ‘Garbage in, garbage out’.

Supahands can help by providing accurate, quality training datasets so that your AI performs to the best of its capability.

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