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πŸ€₯ The Truth Behind AI Hype: Don't Fall for the Deceptions

The Truth About All the AI Hype and Fake Promises

The Truth Behind AI Hype: Don't Fall for the Deceptions

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Back in the 1700s, the Mechanical Turk chess machine fooled people into thinking it was an automated robot when really a person was controlling it from inside. Nowadays, some tech companies do something similar by hyping up their products as using advanced "AI" when there are actually humans doing a lot of the work behind the scenes. This misleading practice is called "AI-washing." Companies oversell their AI capabilities to make their tech seem more impressive than it really is. But this can lead to disappointed customers when the AI doesn't live up to the hype. We'll take a look at examples of AI-washing and why being honest about AI's real capabilities is important.

I. Historical Deceptions

Back in the 1700s, there was this really cool chess machine called the Mechanical Turk. It could play chess super well, and even beat famous people like Napoleon!

Everyone thought it was some kind of robot or machine doing all the smart chess moves on its own. But here's the thing - it was actually a big trick! There was a person hiding inside the machine, controlling the chess moves the whole time.

The Mechanical Turk fooled people into thinking it was fully automated when really, a human was running the show from inside. It was like one of the biggest magic tricks of that era!

And believe it or not, we still see similar types of deceptions happening today with new technology like artificial intelligence (AI). Sometimes companies will claim their products use super advanced AI that can do everything automatically.

But the truth is, there are often real humans working behind the scenes to make sure things run smoothly. It's kind of like the Mechanical Turk all over again - the companies make it seem like it's just the AI doing all the work, when really there are people involved.

So the Mechanical Turk from centuries ago connects to these modern-day instances where companies:

  1. Oversell their AI's capabilities

  2. Make it sound like the AI is more autonomous and intelligent than it really is

These are some key examples of historical deceptions that laid the groundwork for current AI deceptions we see today.

II. Modern Deceptions: The Case of Amazon

Remember how we talked about companies making their tech sound more "AI-powered" than it really is? Amazon is a great example of this!

A few years ago, Amazon introduced this thing called "Just Walk Out" shopping. Basically, you could just grab stuff from their stores and leave without checking out - the whole payment process was supposed to be automatically handled by AI.

It sounded super high-tech and futuristic, right? Like some kind of magic AI system watching your every move and charging you without any human involvement.

But here's the catch: a lot of that "AI" was actually being run by hundreds of people in India! Yep, good ol' human workers were manually keeping an eye on things and making sure payments went through correctly.

In 2022, these 1,000 humans in India were still doing a huge chunk of the oversight work for Amazon's supposed "AI" stores:

  • 70% of transactions at 20 Amazon Go stores

  • 70% of transactions at 40 Amazon Fresh grocery stores

  • 70% of transactions at 2 Whole Foods stores

So while Amazon hyped it up as this revolutionary, AI-driven system, a lot of humble humans were making it work behind the curtain.

This perfectly shows how some big companies use the idea of AI as a marketing ploy. They make their tech sound much more automated and advanced than it truly is, just to boost their brand image and make it seem like they're on the cutting edge.

It creates this illusion that everything is handled seamlessly by AI when in reality, there's a team of people doing a ton of manual labor to keep things running. Kinda disappointing when you think about it that way, huh?

III. The Concept of AI-Washing

You know how some companies really hype up their products by saying they use cutting-edge "AI" technology? Well, there's actually a term for when they exaggerate or straight-up lie about AI's role - it's called "AI-washing."

AI-washing is when companies make false claims and create buzz around their products by saying they're "AI-powered" or use advanced AI capabilities...when that's not really the full truth.

It's kind of like false advertising, but with AI. They mislead customers into thinking their tech is wayyyy more automated and intelligent than it actually is.

And sadly, there are plenty of examples we could point to:

  • DelphiaΒ - This investment firm claimed to have an AI that could predict the next big companies and trends. But after an investigation, turns out they were lying and had to pay a $225,000Β fine!

  • Wirecard - The CEO boasted that all their banking/payment products used patented, advanced AI tech. In reality? Their operations were just being handled in basic spreadsheets. No AI to be found!

  • Neural Processing Units (NPUs) - These are chips marketed as being optimized for AI tasks. But reviews say the AI features are basically useless so far. Buyers expected something "transformative" but ended up disappointed.

Companies seem to be doing this AI-washing more and more lately too. According to Goldman Sachs, 36% of S&P 500 companies mentioned AI in their Q4 2023 earnings reports!

It makes sense though - everyone is rushing to seem like they're on the cutting edge of AI to stay competitive. But hyping up capabilities they don't actually have is just misleading to customers and investors.

So in summary, AI-washing is when companies exaggerate or lie about using advanced AI in their products as a way to generate excitement and buzz. But it can really let people down when the AI doesn't live up to the hype.

IV. The Reality Behind AI Hype

Companies are hyping up AI claims for a competitive advantage, but often the bold promises don't have real substance behind them.

Big firms feel pressured to tout "AI-powered" products if their rivals are doing it. But many times, these claims don't actually have capable AI backing them up - it's just marketing fluff.

Smaller companies and startups also jump on the AI bandwagon. They figure putting an "AI" label on their offerings will make them seem more cutting-edge, even if their tech is very basic or non-existent!

Two shocking examples:

🚨 Delphia claimed to have an AI that could predict hot companies and trends. But it was a complete fraud - they had no such AI and got fined $225,000.

🚨 Wirecard's CEO boasted about their payment products using patented AI tech. But their operations were simply run on spreadsheets with no real AI involved.

So while the AI hype is real, some businesses are just taking advantage by making hollow claims without the true capabilities. They're prioritizing appearing innovative over delivering substantial AI.

V. AI and Consumer Technology

Remember those new chips like Neural Processing Units (NPUs) that were supposed to bring awesome AI capabilities to our devices? The ones marketed as bringing something totally "transformative" powered by AI?

Well, turns out a lot of consumers are pretty disappointed with how little those "AI chips" are actually enhancing things so far.

Tech reviewers have been calling out NPUs, saying the hyped-up AI features they promised are pretty much just meh in reality. As one reviewer put it:

"NPUs aren't all they're cracked up to be...you're going to be disappointed if you expect something transformative."

Yikes! There's clearly a huge gap between the AI marketing claims and what these products can truly deliver right now. Companies make AI sound like it'll be this game-changing, revolutionary tech. But then the actual experience falls flat.

It's just another case of over-hyping and over-promising what today's AI is capable of. And understandably, that leads to frustration when the products don't live up to the "AI-enhanced future" we were sold.

The consumer tech space is full of this kind of AI-washing and empty promises. While AI is progressing, being aware of the hype vs. reality is crucial for managing expectations properly.

VI. AI Bubble and Market Perception

With all the AI hype lately, you might be wondering - is this another tech bubble waiting to burst, like the dot-com era? You know, where everyone gets super excited about a new technology until that bubble inevitably pops?

Well, some experts think the current AI craze could be overhyped, just like past "revolutionary" technologies were. The worry is that companies are cashing in on the AI gold rush, but maybe don't actually have the capabilities to back it up long-term.

However, not everyone agrees we're in bubble territory just yet. Take Peter Oppenheimer from Goldman Sachs - he believes "we are still in the relatively early stages of this new AI technology cycle."

And investor Mark Cuban, who made bank during the internet boom, doesn't see an AI bubble at the moment. His reasoning? The lack of overhyped AI company IPOs and overvalued stocks - a key difference from past bubbles.

Cuban explained:

"The biggest indicator we're not in a bubble is the lack of IPOs in AI...the market is not displaying those characteristics."

So while AI is super hot right now, some experts don't see the same level of unsustainable hype and unrealistic valuations that signaled previous tech bubbles.

The optimistic view is that AI has real, transformative potential beyond just market frenzy. But only time will tell if this boom plays out similarly to past bubbles or if AI manages to live up to the lofty expectations.

VII. Gartner Hype Cycle and the Future of AI

You know how people tend to get way too excited about new, revolutionary technologies at first? Like we build them up to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, only to get inevitably let down when the realities set in?

Well, there's this concept called the Gartner Hype Cycle that perfectly captures this pattern of overinflated expectations followed by disillusionment.

Here's a quick breakdown of the cycle's stages:

  1. Innovation Trigger - A new technology emerges, piquing interest

  2. Peak of Inflated Expectations - Tons of hype and unrealistic projections

  3. Trough of Disillusionment - Reality hits, and people get super discouraged

  4. Slope of Enlightenment - We start understanding the tech's real strengths

  5. Plateau of Productivity - The true, productive potential is finally realized

So where does AI currently stand in this cycle? Many experts believe we're nearing the peak of those inflated expectations right about now.

The hype machine is in full force, with crazy promises being made about AI's world-changing capabilities. But very soon, we'll likely enter a period of disillusionment as the AI doesn't live up to those sky-high expectations.

However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing! It's all part of the typical hype cycle process. The real value and utility of AI will start to emerge once we get past the initial disillusionment phase.

As the cycle continues, we'll reach a point of enlightenment about what AI can actually achieve in practical ways. The real game-changers and productive use cases will rise to the top.


So in summary, the AI hype train is running full speed ahead these days. But we have to be careful not to get swept up by all the empty promises and deceptions out there. Companies are definitely guilty of overselling their AI capabilities through tactics like AI-washing.

At the end of the day, it's up to us as consumers and investors to stay critical and informed. Don't just blindly believe the marketing buzz - look for real, tangible results. The true transformative potential of AI will only be realized once we get past the disillusionment phase and approach it realistically.

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If you are interested in other topics and how AI is transforming different aspects of our lives, or even in making money using AI with more detailed, step-by-step guidance, you can find our other articles here:

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