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Calling ‘Bullshit’ on the ‘Hey Hi’ (AI) Marketing Hype

Posted in IBM, Marketing, Red Hat, Servers at 12:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watson logo

AI mentions

Summary: IBM and Microsoft both rely on mindless hype to market poorly-performing products and services; when will they set aside buzzwords and focus on substance instead?

I have worked on so-called ‘Hey Hi’ (AI) code since I was a teenager. At first I developed a game engine. Later I develop computer vision classifiers, mostly for medical applications. We called it “machine vision” or “machine learning” at the time, not “Hey Hi” (AI being a much older term with very broad scope). I understand the technical limitations and all the superficial/artificial hype. I peer-reviewed academic papers at the highest level, assessing the application of the methods in a practical context. I’m not clueless about this. EPO President António Campinos loves talking about “AI”, but what does he know about it anyway? Nothing. The term “AI” is so vague and broad that nontechnical managers name-drop it all the time.

“The term “AI” is so vague and broad that nontechnical managers name-drop it all the time.”The new CEO of IBM (Arvind Krishna), in recent interviews that I saw of him, props up “clown computing” (servers/clusters) and “Hey Hi” (AI) quite a lot; there’s not sufficient substance. Remember which part of IBM he came from. Here’s one video where they speak to Mr. “cloud and cognitive software” (“cloud everywhere, AI anywhere”). Have a look, as it predates by months the appointment/promotion of Krishna to CEO role:

He mentions “Watson” in the context of “Cloud Private” and containers. “Watson everywhere” is their motto. Watson to “sell cloud”…

“IBM will need to do more than rebrand systems administration “DevOps” and various algorithms “AI”; the CEO is probably a lot more technical than the new President (Whitehurst), which is better known for institutional openwashing (“open org”).”Red Hat is mentioned a lot (this was after they announced they’d buy Red Hat, reportedly because Krishna had pushed in that direction).

They mention Microsoft and Azure a lot (even if Azure is an overhyped failure with ongoing layoffs). Seeing all this “cloud everywhere” and “Watson everywhere” buzzwords salad, I’m not particularly encouraged about the future direction, which may lack technical substance and put emphasis on soundbites, instead. At around 7:20 he mentions doctors and access to knowledge; well, perhaps he hasn’t caught up with reports such as these:

Watson hype

IBM will need a lot more than brands like “Watson” to succeed. “You gotta bring cloud technologies, you gotta bring AI technologies” (Krishna’s words at 10:40) isn’t enough. IBM will need to do more than rebrand systems administration “DevOps” and various algorithms “AI”; the CEO is probably a lot more technical than the new President (Whitehurst), which is better known for institutional openwashing (“open org”).

I generally hope that IBM will bring GNU/Linux to the mainstream not only at the back end but also the client side. IBM, irrespective of our views about it, is by far the biggest influencer in this space. It’ll have a lot to do with the future direction of both Linux and GNU, not to mention a bunch of other stuff that goes on top (e.g. containers, databases, and Web frameworks).

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