artificial intelligence

Has Technology Made Us Social Retards?

The Evolution of Interpersonal Skills

We were recently asked: “Do you think that, though digital dating has opened up more opportunities to meet people than ever before, that same screen-based culture has decreased our interpersonal skills?”

There are arguments for both sides, but we think there’s been more of an evolution of interpersonal skills.  Until we’re replaced by AI and robots (coming soon?), digital communication doesn’t replace real-life interaction - it’s an added dimension.  Instead of having to be charming only in person, we now have to master modern letter-writing.

Doing this well requires time and practice the same way it took time and practice to hone more traditional interpersonal skills, like how to create engaging conversation and what to make of the other person’s facial expression and body language.  Texting is just newer and has a slightly different set of rules and formalities.  For example...

1: You shouldn’t be too wordy

2: And don’t take too long to reply

3: You should probably learn proper emoji usage

4: For the advanced, find the perfect gif to capture the essence of the moment

In just the last two years, technology and machine learning has made giant leaps translating traditional spoken language.  As we evolve how we communicate, many of us could use some help climbing up the learning curve.  That’s why there's Crushh.  

K, Wrap It Up Mom

“Not sure if I’m going out later”

That text is about how long the average text is.  Remember that the next time you want to thumb out a novel on your phone.  Well, unless you’re older or want to come across as such.

It turns out the older you are, the longer your text messages tend to be.  The following tracks average characters per text by age across several thousand Americans.

Looking at men and women separately, there doesn’t seem to much of a difference between genders up until the early 20s.

After that point, women get much wordier than men.  And that increase seems to rise with age.  It’s worth pointing out that there’s a sizeable subset of men who will write shorter responses as they enter their late 30s, but they’ve been more than offset by the more verbose ones, at least in our data.

So the next time your mom writes an essay or your teenage kid seems too busy to give you the time of day, remember, that’s just how they text.

2017 Will Be A Big Year For Artificial Intelligence

Jarvis AI

Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg shared his thoughts on his most recent personal project, Jarvis, which is an AI program he created himself.  The note is a great read for anyone interested in artificial intelligence, or even those who have ever just been curious how Siri, Alexa, or their Google Assistant works.  

In the coming year, it seems there will be a lot of focus on making machines more intelligent.  Where the head of a technology company chooses to spend their time is often a good indication of where the resources under them will flow.  At Crushh, we're focused on the same thing, but with the specific goal of helping people understand each other.  There's a good amount of work to be done, and the challenges are well captured in Zuckerberg's own words below.  We're excited for the work ahead!

I’ve previously predicted that within 5-10 years we’ll have AI systems that are more accurate than people for each of our senses — vision, hearing, touch, etc, as well as things like language. It’s impressive how powerful the state of the art for these tools is becoming, and this year makes me more confident in my prediction.

At the same time, we are still far off from understanding how learning works. Everything I did this year — natural language, face recognition, speech recognition and so on — are all variants of the same fundamental pattern recognition techniques. We know how to show a computer many examples of something so it can recognize it accurately, but we still do not know how to take an idea from one domain and apply it to something completely different.

To put that in perspective, I spent about 100 hours building Jarvis this year, and now I have a pretty good system that understands me and can do lots of things. But even if I spent 1,000 more hours, I probably wouldn’t be able to build a system that could learn completely new skills on its own — unless I made some fundamental breakthrough in the state of AI along the way.

In a way, AI is both closer and farther off than we imagine. AI is closer to being able to do more powerful things than most people expect — driving cars, curing diseases, discovering planets, understanding media. Those will each have a great impact on the world, but we’re still figuring out what real intelligence is.
— Mark Zuckerberg