From the Influencers 

This month’s key quotes from leaders in artificial intelligence

“Arguably, we should all expect nothing less of the authorities than to keep all individuals under surveillance, overtly and covertly. The government continues to waste public money on flawed AI techniques, and the lack of regulation or independent oversight on the effectiveness or accuracy of technologies such as facial recognition is concerning.”

Bambos Tsiattalou, founding Partner at specialist fraud and financial crime law firm Stokoe Partnership Solicitors, on the UK police’s controversial use of AI-backed facial recognition technologies

“While there are potential advantages to this milestone, the applicability is actually very narrow and does not take the human out of the loop. Any AI-powered decision must have an interpretable rationale if the technology is to be trusted and scale, a limitation to many machine-learnt approaches. That’s why in most cases, a human domain expert (in this case a radiologist) must review the AI opinion and put their name to it. It may be right, but if it can’t explain why, how can you trust it?”

James Duez, CEO and co-founder of Rainbird, urges a measured approach to the news that AI is now on par with humans when it comes to image-based medical diagnoses

“Despite the prompt delivery, it is unlikely that robots will replace traditional consumer purchasing and delivering habits due to the number of restrictions. For example, it does not cover hot beverages, and is only available for small deliveries within a specific location, as the robots struggle in unfavorable weather and find it difficult to maneuver past obstacles such as bollards. Age-restricted items should also be taken into account as they could weaken consumer confidence of choosing this method of delivery at checkout.”

Holly Inglis, consumer analyst at GlobalData, on the rise of robotic delivery services such as the one provided by Starship Technologies

“I agree that what Britain needs is more robots. However, far from lagging, our experience shows that Britain is one of four leading economies to adopt automation of white collar office tasks (that is, the use of software robots, rather than physical robots that you see in factories). We think that ultimately there will be a robot for every person in the workplace: remember that Bill Gates in the early eighties predicted a time when every household and every desk would have a computer. These software robots have been proven to boost workplace happiness and accelerate human achievement, as well as revenues and productivity.”

Guy Kirkwood, chief evangelist at UiPath, reacts to comments by Labour MP Rachel Reeves that the UK is lagging behind Europe on technology adoption

“Artificial intelligence heralds the beginning of a new marketing era, driven by the need to connect vast amounts of disparate data, uncover patterns and make predictions, which only AI can accomplish. AI will become increasingly integrated into digital services and marketing processes; however, human intelligence and intuition will remain critical to interpret its findings and implement strategic and creative plans accordingly.”

Oliver Schweitzer, executive director at GP Bullhound, on the news that AI-related marketing companies received $1bn in investment in Q2 of 2019