Avoid shiny things!

This is a sobering perspective.

Someone else’s cool AI project doesn’t make your project less valuable

AI has an Instagram problem. Just as Instagram’s parade of perfect physiques makes many people feel they don’t measure up, AI’s parade of exciting projects makes many people feel their own projects are lacking. Just as pictures of people’s perfect lives in the media aren’t representative, pictures of AI developers’ postings of their amazing projects also aren’t representative.

AI develops so quickly that waves of new ideas keep coming: quantum AI, self-supervised learning, transformers, diffusion models, large language models, and on and on. Some, like quantum AI, have had essentially no impact in applications so far. Others have already had a huge impact. Because our field evolves, it is important to keep learning and ride the waves of change. For the record, I think large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT (and, to a significant but lesser extent, diffusion models, best known for generating images) will have a transformative impact on AI, but they are far from the only things that will be important.

The shiny new AI project may not have a “transformative impact” unless they are hyped up to gain more money from “investors”. Their motivations could be anything. There are claims and counter-claims but it is difficult to separate the chaff from the grain.

Use your own head!

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