Reviewing last year’s AI-related forecasts

This time last year I made some forecasts about how AI would change, and how it would change us. It’s time to look back and see how those forecasts for 2016 panned out.

Not a bad result: seven unambiguous yes, four mixed, and one outright no. Here are the forecasts (and you can see the original article here.)

forecasts

AlphaGo is the big one: it caught most people by surprise, and is still seen as one of the major landmarks in AI development, along with Deep Blue beating Kasparov in 1997 and Watson beating Jennings in 2011. Admittedly AlphaGo had already beaten excellent human Go players in 2015, but most observers agreed with Lee SeDol’s confident estimate that he would win in March.

My least successful forecast was that Google would re-launch Glass. It didn’t. Instead, 2016 was the year when smart watches reached peak hype and then faded again. I remain confident that AI-powered head-up displays for consumers will be back, whether or not it will be called Glass.

There was a significant development regarding Google’s robot companies, but it was a negative one: Boston Dynamics was quietly put up for sale.

Intel admitted that it was moving from a tick-tock rhythm of chip development to a slower tic-tac-toe one, but Nvidia stormed into the breach, positioning itself as the Intel for AI, declaring rapid advances and scoring a vertigo-inducing stock market performance.

The Internet of Things did hit the headlines in October, but for the wrong reasons, when a multitude of connected devices were commandeered for a botnet attack. The IoT is increasingly being mis-labelled as the Fourth Industrial Revolution – see here.  Grrr.

Next up (tomorrow), a review of 2016’s AI highlights.

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