Welcome back to the Top Conversations in Technology! May 2021’s installment has Artificial Intelligence (AI) ranked at #9 as a top tech conversation, dropping down from #8 in April 2021, but up in comparison to March and February of this year. The topic registered a 5% drop in coverage volume from Apr’21 and was down from this time last year.
In May 2021 a good portion of the AI conversation focused on the use of artificial intelligence tools, like facial recognition, for surveillance, complicated by implicit racial biases. Black Enterprise reported on claims from Joris Lechêne, a TikTok influencer, that AI prevented him from registering for a UK passport because the software did not recognize his skin color. The Wall Street journal published that French President Emmanuel Macron wants to use AI to monitor online activity of suspected terrorist in the face of increased terrorist threats. Also, the BBC reported that the Chinese province Xinjiang (where citizens are under daily surveillance) tested AI software meant to reveal emotional states on Uyghurs, the ethnic minority, to detect and predict criminal behavior.
Other big topics this past month included using AI in common workplace software like Outlook to fight off burnout and Zoom fatigue from the increase of working remotely due to the pandemic. Tactics included asking users to prioritize tasks for the day and automatically scheduling breaks between meetings. We were also introduced to MLOps, a compound of “machine learning” and “information technology operations,” which is a newer discipline involving collaboration between data scientists and IT professionals with the aim of productizing machine learning algorithms. Additionally, a team of psychologists are suggesting that most AI research is heading in the wrong direction after a study suggests that neural misfiring is actually a key future to human intelligence rather than a flaw.
Finally, Google held their annual I/O developer conference, where they announced several new AI-based features, like a more inclusive camera, AI-curated photo albums, and an AI that can help identify skin conditions.