Gartner Blog Network

Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio

FLASHBACK: Is All This Hype Really Necessary?

by Tom Austin  |  March 13, 2017

At Gartner, we have started working on our 2017 Hype Cycle work in anticipation of publishing results early in the third quarter. Recently, I found research we published in 10 June 1994 on the subject of Hype, well before we started to create “hype cycles.” While brief, we recommend this research as you contemplate the […]

Read more »

People aren’t rational. Get used to it (or not, depending on your own confirmation bias.)

by Tom Austin  |  March 12, 2017

Cool article, well written http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds  A rational discussion of how irrational people really are — in many cases, on all sides of the political divides. Which is one reason why I say we don’t want “AI” to emulate how people think (but don’t worry, there’s no chance that AI becomes either intelligent or rational — that’s […]

Read more »

There is No Intelligence in AI

by Tom Austin  |  March 11, 2017

AI is Amazing Innovations. Amazing Innovations that do what we thought technology couldn’t do. After a while they are no longer “amazing.” We become blaze as amazingness just becomes part of the background. It is another “AI,” Aging Innovation. It’s taken for granted, no longer enthused about. AI (amazing innovations) cease to be amazing and are replaced by new, […]

Read more »

A toast to mavericks, whomever you are

by Tom Austin  |  October 14, 2016

A toast to mavericks, down with specialization myopia and up with cultivating a breadth of abilities Interesting piece http://clivethompson.net/2016/10/06/what-can-people-do-better-than-machines-the-view-from-1951/ A 1951 look at (and contemporary commentary on) what people can do better than machines. One of the core conclusions then? Humans are flexible. They contain “general purpose intelligence.” I was struck by a cited Heinlein […]

Read more »

Don’t blame the technology — we have a Labor-Social-People-Government-Business problem

by Tom Austin  |  February 16, 2016

The authors of this piece in the UK Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/13/artificial-intelligence-ai-unemployment-jobs-moshe-vardi on AI and unemployment may be overly optimistic or not on the progress of AI and it may be 100 years rather than 50 (or 10 instead of 50) but this isn’t about technology. It’s something very different.   Consider this one quote:   “…technology has […]

Read more »

Here we go again! More bad assumptions fueling new movies, fears…

by Tom Austin  |  January 29, 2015

In a recent article, the BBC has repeated fear stories like this: “The Spectrum computer’s inventor Sir Clive Sinclair … [says] he believes it is unavoidable that artificial intelligences will wipe out mankind. Once you start to make machines that are rivalling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it’s going to be very difficult for us to […]

Read more »

Kudos to Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research Lab and lead AI researcher

by Tom Austin  |  January 28, 2015

I want to be clear. I try not to endorse vendors or vendor products in this blog. This post will be no exception. Levi Sumagaysay posted a quote from Eric Horvitz (Microsoft MSR AI lead)  in her silicon beat blog“ “There have been concerns about the long-term prospect that we lose control of certain kinds […]

Read more »

Kudos to Andrew Ng (Stanford, Google, Baidu)

by Tom Austin  |  January 23, 2015

Andrew is chief scientist at Baidu research labs in California; CS faculty at Sanford and former direct of AI research at Google. In a recent interview with the Wall St Journal, he said: WSJ: Who’s at the forefront of deep learning? Ng: There are a lot of deep-learning startups. Unfortunately, deep learning is so hot today […]

Read more »

Bravo to The Future of Life Institute’s Research Initiatives and Musk’s Investment

by Tom Austin  |  January 19, 2015

Today, the FLI (Future of Life Institute) portal opens to proposals for funding research that aligns with the priorities they lay out in this paper. FLI’s focus is on making AI more capable, more socially acceptable and maximizing its social benefits while minimizing the negative consequences. While I’ve taken issue with much of the fear […]

Read more »

What can we learn from bird brains?

by Tom Austin  |  January 6, 2015

Have you seen the chatter on computational neuroscience, computational neurobiology, the existential risks AI poses for all of humanity and other dire forecasts for the future impact of all-knowing, sentient artificial intelligence? All of it makes great intuitive leaps from models of how neurons behave to methods for constructing general purpose machine intelligence at a […]

Read more »