Eye to AI*

JFK Terminal 4, October 23, 2018

The medium is the message, according to McLuhan. But while I get the medium, I am wondering what message is being conveyed by the sprouting of AI commercials I am beginning to see around me.   Here’s one: “It’s no longer human vs. the machine,” seen besides a travelator at JFK airport. *This line is in an ad from Deloitte, one of the big four  international accounting and professional services corporations.

Human-v-MachineAnd, here’s another one, a bit further down besides the next travelator, also sponsored by Deloitte.

Eye-to-AIThis one is catchy, I like the “eye to AI” tag. Yet, are the eyes really eyes? Well, they might be, but the left ones look rather like synthetic creations, while the right ones seem more electronic and digital. These amalgams are consistent with the “its no longer human vs machine” theme, with the suggestion that the human is becoming the machine, or that the machine is now more human. The latter has a more positive connotation, suggesting perhaps that humans can now better control machines with AI. Or, maybe its the other way around. Seeing “eye to eye” means reaching an agreement. Deloitte seeks to assure us that whatever the scenario, they will help to manage this transition, in particular reconciling workers with AI.

Of course, when one party looks another in the eye, penetrating insights can be uncovered. “I see a strange confession in thine eye,” wrote Shakespeare in the second part of Henry IV. The implication being that the eyes convey what the tongue may not. I wonder, then, what are those eyes telling us?  Perhaps workers and AI can be reconciled, I certainly hope so, but I suspect it might no be so easy as these ads imply.

As and when I see other media presentations about AI that particularly catch my eye, I will add them here.

Gate B26, JFK, October 24, 2018

Well, I didn’t have to travel far at JFK before eyeballing another AI-influenced advertisement on the side of the boarding jetway. In its plug, HSBC states that its most valuable intelligence is not artificial. Surely true, and I like the sentiment. Still it’s worth noting that this global bank is investing $billions in financial digital technologies including AI to spot fraud.