The reality looks a bit different. In two ways – firstly because not everything that’s marketed under the AI label is actually AI. Frequently, what is promoted as AI is more of a structured interview that is conventionally programmed. Many operators of talking robots, for example, admit this. An update involves additional lines of program. But there is rarely any genuine self-learning, analysis and reaction.
Secondly, what AI can do today is a long way from what we expect of it. Nobby is not the only example. Have you ever shopped on Amazon? I once ordered a red dress from them. No sooner had I unpacked, tried on, and paid for the dress, thanks to the online advertising networks I was bombarded with recommendations for red dresses. What happened with me is no exception. Trainers, shoelaces, dishwashers – “artificial intelligence” seems to view us as repeat offenders of the worst kind. Compared to this, the economic picture of homo oeconomicus is innocuous – we are apparently homo repetitens, hamsters with no horizon beyond the hamster wheel. We are red dress fetishists, dishwasher collectors, trainer hoarders – people preparing for a zombie apocalypse in which only shoelaces will survive as the ultimate form of currency – good for the person who stocks up.
How hard can it be to understand that someone who buys a particular kind of item has already got what they want? If anything, offer me a pair of red shoes to go with it. Or underwear. Or a hat. Or at least a green dress – that would make the label “intelligent” more appropriate.