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Weekly eLetter 5/25/2018 – Can You Trust Artificial Intelligence…Yet?

After reading our headline you might be thinking ‘What does this have to do with wealth management or financial advice?’ Good question…and we’ll get to the answer before the end of the page. But first, let’s take a cursory look at how Artificial Intelligence is already creeping into people’s lives in unanticipated ways. Although you may think you are not interested in AI, remember the cautionary words of Trotsky, ‘You may not be interested in war, but war may be interested in you’.

Perhaps you saw the news story this week about a couple in Oregon whose Alexa device recorded a conversation they were having and then decided to send the recording to one of the people on the couple’s list of contacts. No, really! You can read the story here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oops-amazons-alexa-recorded-couples-conversation-sent-it-to-random-contact-2018-05-24?mod=MW_widget_latest_news

Unfortunately, there have also been Artificial Intelligence problems that have led to more serious consequences. In Tempe, Arizona a self-driving Uber car failed to avoid a pedestrian crossing the street. Tragically, the 56-year-old woman was struck and killed. Apparently, the car actually did detect the presence of an object and perhaps could have avoided the impact (or at least lessened it) but it seems the automatic braking feature had been turned off. So, the fault (likely) shifts back to the human driver…who mistakenly relied on a system that was not operating. Ironically, even though the AI system may not have been at fault, if the car had not been equipped with the AI system the accident may not have occurred.

My point on all of this is just this: Every day we encounter a new AI interface, often in places completely unexpected. Indeed, there are even options to have artificial intelligence handle your financial portfolio — something where ‘real’ intelligence might be preferred! At every turn there is a new thing offering to do our thinking for us. Today’s technological advances are nothing short of astounding. And the benefits — both present and promised — are undeniably wondrous and far-reaching. However, rushing into the world of artificial intelligence does not mean that we should stop using the intelligence we already have.

– Read more …