Artificial Intelligence is a conversation topic that usually focuses on the long-term future. We saw this to be true in September ’20, with AI conversations trending toward solutions for COVID and human-centric problems. In October, however, the media was feeling less optimistic, especially when it came to AI. The volume of Artificial Intelligence mentions in October 2020 fell 3% from September 2020 and was 26% down from October 2019. It also slipped from our Top 10 Tech Topics list, being shoved out by ‘Cybersecurity’ and ‘Misinformation’ as the US Presidential Election neared closer.
As we know, Artificial Intelligence is a blanket term to describe a swath of technology. When taking a closer look, machine learning, facial recognition, and deep learning where the most frequently cited types of AI across the media. This is nothing new with machine learning. However, the emphasis on facial recognition and deep learning this month can be related to growing fears surrounding police surveillance and deep fakes, tying into the anxiety leading up to the presidential election early November.
Much of the media this month focused on weaknesses and vulnerabilities in common-use AI, leading to coverage like this imaginative article in The Wall Street Journal, describing five new jobs to safeguard our ever-more connected lives, including deep fake analysts and anti-cheat referees.
Not all was doom and gloom in the AI conversation space though. We saw a lot of excited buzz generated by Google’s Search On event, in which they detailed how the company is using AI and machine learning to improve their host of products, from Google maps to busyness data. This led to Google being the most cited brand across news, blogs, and social in relation to Artificial Intelligence. The other most cited brands in October were the usual suspects who specialize in AI research and development: IBM, NVIDIA, Linux, and Microsoft.
Looking forward into November, we can expect a continuation of this harsh look at AI as either a surveillance or biased decision-making tool for systems and governments.